Boston-based jazz vocalist Keiko Ito has soaring voice on new EP
(Published: March 09, 2011)
(Boston, MA) Written by Robert Sutton. It's fitting that the coffeehouse jazz of Keiko Ito is lighter than air. After all, how else could you complement a voice that soars through the skies?
Ito's vocals, glowing with the youthful innocence and emotional warmth of Karen Carpenter, are deceptively coy in her latest EP, The Trio. On the opening cut, "Bewitched," Ito's soft, sweet delivery caresses the ears, reflecting the fragility of the spare acoustic guitars. But the calm beauty of her voice is only the beginning; when Ito aims for the high notes, her singing truly ascends.
Even if you can't understand the words to "Kaerenai Futari," there's no denying the lullaby loveliness of Ito's vocal work, swaying back and forth to the minimalist rhythms of the guitar. There is no doubt that this lady had her skills sharpened by studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. This is not an unpolished talent; she delivers strong, evocative performances worthy of a seasoned veteran.
Who was the first jazz artist that had the biggest impact on you?
Ella Fitzgerald was the first jazz vocalist that I was influenced by. I remember that I bought some of her CDs and felt that she was astonishing with every song that she sang. Lately, I've been impressed with jazz pianists quite a bit such as Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, and so on.
When did you start attending the Berklee College of Music?
When I was 25-years-old. It was so challenging to study abroad for me yet exciting.
Have your views of music changed at all since then?
It became clearer than before that what I want to have for music is a stronger spirit of inquiry. The hue of music has changed when I think about it, even the non-musical aspects.
What are your goals as a musician in terms of your art?
I want to pursue a sense of unity in my music. It might be something new challenges or not; I don't know yet. I'm still searching.
More Information: http://www.keikoitomusic.com