Plan Your Visit to Falmouth to see the Yoko Miwa Trio

September 26th, 2013
If you have your tickets for Yoko Miwa Trio’s sold-out kickoff of the Falmouth JazzFest this Sunday, you will want to take some time to explore the area. If you’re coming from Falmouth or neighboring towns, you may well know the information below — please take a moment to tell us more about the highlights of the area in the comments! If you are coming from elsewhere on the Cape or further away, read on and plan your day.
If you enjoy nature, bundle up and take a walk at Ashumet Holly and Wildlife Sanctuary (286 Ashumet Road), or bike or walk along the Shining Sea Bikeway, which connects Falmouth and Woods Hole.  Or for a warmer walk, enjoy the shops on Main Street.
For fine dining, try The Glass Onion, a beloved American/fusion restaurant (37 N. Main Street) or Osteria La Civetta, an Italian restaurant with gluten-free as well as traditional homemade pasta (133 Main Street). If you prefer to eat somewhere with a more down-to-earth local flavor, Quahog Republic (97 Springs Bars Road) is your place for fish and chips or lobster rolls.

Head over to Highfield Hall early to experience the way autumn graces the building’s grounds. If you stop by earlier in the day when the building is open for visitation (10 am to 2 pm), you can see the three art exhibitions on display through the end of October. “Pocketful of Posies” displays Salley Mavor’s award-winning fabric relief illustrations of nursery rhymes. “America the Beautiful: The Words of Katharine Lee Bates interpreted in Fiber and Paint” is a collection of local artists’ work inspired by the song “America the Beautiful.” Complementing the art is a history exhibition, “Voice of the Tide,” on the life of Falmouth-born Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful.”

Most of all, enjoy the show!

Soulful Sips

September 19th, 2013

Thelonious Monkfish in Central Square, Cambridge, a jazz-themed asian fusion bar, recently created the Yoko Miwa’s Blue Tear, soon after Yoko started playing there regularly. It consists of sake, blue curacao, coconut milk and pineapple juice. You may have heard of a “Blue Tear Jerker,” which contains blue curacao and schnapps, but it’s not nearly as pretty as the white and blue layers of the Cambridge creation.

Yoko Miwa enjoys a Yoko Miwa's Blue Tear Thelonious Monkfish

Most alcoholic drinks associated with jazz are not so much linked to the music as they are to the Jazz Age, which was largely during Prohibition. Classic cocktails such as manhattans, gin rickeys, and martinis were standards at the time, fashionable out in the open in Europe and possibly even more popular behind closed doors in the States.

In Boris Vian’s surreal French novel “L’Ecume des Jours,” (Froth on the Daydream), the wealthy protagonist Colin loves to play the pianocktail, a piano-like instrument that creates a cocktail based on the music being played. He demonstrates that one can create harmonies that taste delicious, but also some beautiful, haunting, dissonant compositions that are horrific to drink! Since the novel came out in 1947, others have riffed on the concept, and artist-inventors have even attempted to create the instrument – but no reports have come back on whether the drinks or the music is good.

Drink responsibly, but enjoy music with abandon!

The Scoop on Scullers

September 12th, 2013

Don’t let the exterior fool you – while Scullers is housed in a Doubletree Hotel and tucked away from the neighborhoods known for their nightlife, this venue knows how to provide a timeless jazz club feel. The acoustics are good, and they turn the lights down low and cluster the chairs for an intimate environment; when the music starts playing, you could be in any decade and any city that has a roaring jazz scene.

The Yoko Miwa Trio plays an annual fall show at Scullers, and this year’s will be on November 20 at 8 pm. Tickets are available online, or you can call the box office at 617-562-4111. Get them soon, because this show has sold out in the past.

YMT@Scullers-55

If you are looking for a really relaxing evening, go for the dinner and show package, so you can enjoy a three-course prix fixe meal and just saunter over to the club to listen to the Yoko Miwa Trio. In addition to the dinner at The Green Room, audience members with the package ticket get priority seating for the show.

Parking in the hotel garage is $10. While many Yelp reviewers recommend taking a cab (it’s easy from Central Square) for comfort on a breezy fall night, there are also a number of buses that take you along Cambridge Street right by Scullers. The venue is wheelchair-accessible. Dressy attire is expected, so get ready for a stylish night out!

The Yoko Miwa Trio’s Annual Fall Show at Scullers!

September 5th, 2013

The Yoko Miwa Trio has had the pleasure of performing a special show at Scullers Jazz Club each autumn for several years. The album Live at Scullers Jazz Club was, true to its name, recorded at one of these shows, but each year’s performance is something new.

A majority of the videos on the trio’s Youtube channel were taped at Scullers performances. A fan showed this 2010 video of Yoko’s cover of Aerosmith’s Seasons of Wither to Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, and he really liked it. Of course, the Scullers also includes some of Yoko’s original compositions, and there may even be a rare special guest appearance with the trio, so stay tuned!

This year’s Scullers show will be on November 20 at 8 pm. Tickets are available now! You can also buy the dining package for a 6 pm dinner at the club’s Green Room Restaurant before the show. You can also call the box office at 617-562-4111. Get them soon, because this show has been known to sell out!

Tickets for Show at Scullers November 20 8pm available now

September 3rd, 2013

Tickets for the Yoko Miwa Trio’s November 20 show at Scullers Jazz Club are on sale now — click here!

Scullers Jazz Club

Reviewing the documentary “Note by Note”

August 29th, 2013

Yoko Miwa Trio fans who liked the posts From Key to Ear and Note by Note, or who watched the short Youtube video tour of the Steinway factory we shared on our Facebook page some months back, would appreciate the 2007 Ben Niles documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037.

“L1037″ in the title is the serial number of a specific piano, one of Steinway’s concert grands, and the film follows the year-long process of crafting the instrument. From planing the first boards and crafting the sounding board to stretching the strings and several iterations of tuning, the film interviews craftsmen and women from throughout the process. While mass-produced pianos exist, the Steinway concert grands are as far from mass-produced as you can get, and you can see many parts of the instrument stamped with the serial number as they move along the production process, because each piano has its own character, and all the parts must fit together perfectly.

The film shows the seasons change as L1037 is slowly crafted, but it intersperses scenes following this particular instrument with scenes from the rest of the Steinway factory and scenes of musicians testing and selecting instruments. Located in the Bronx, the factory is both a hometown anchor and an international meeting place. Many of Yoko’s experiences, in Japan and the U.S., at Berklee, and at numerous music festivals, have demonstrated the same thing the film shows – that love of music is a global feeling that can bring people together.

One worker described having sneaked in to play between stacks of lumber in the factory yard as a kid, while many of his coworkers took the job shortly after immigrating. From the way these workers talk about what they do — and, in many cases, have done for decades — it’s clear that a lot of love goes into those pianos. To be sure, the film doubles as a promotion for the company, and it’s not designed to be the kind of documentary that exposes anything that may be wrong, but there’s a ring of truth in the way these workers describe their craft.

Other than the lovely background music (mostly classical, but some jazz), one of the best parts of “Note by Note” is the intimate details of life at the factory: footage of a man blowing sawdust out of his hair with some sort of air hose, the personal items tacked up on the walls of a tuner’s workshop. The film is slow-moving at parts, but never dry, and one that all piano enthusiasts should check out.

Recording the Score for Midlife, the Movie

August 22nd, 2013

Back in July we had a marathon two days of recording sessions for the score of the movie “Midlife,” which Yoko composed. That’s a very short time in which to record a score, but we did it – 39 songs in two days! The ensemble included Yoko Miwa, Will Slater, Scott Goulding, Andy Voelker, Connor Dugan, and Joyce Cheung. The session was done with all live musicians, breathing life into Yoko’s compositions.

Yoko Recording Score for Midlife

Midlife actor, writer, and director Greg Travis came out from Hollywood for the session. Up until that point, he had only heard Yoko’s demos of the music, made in the music notation software on her computer. He really liked the demos and Yoko was worried he might be married to the way the recordings originally sounded. Working together was a new experience, since Greg’s expertise is in film and Yoko’s is in music, and while he had a specific feel for how the music should sound, he didn’t know the terminology to explain. But, Greg was thrilled with the warm, live sound, and after recording all 39 pieces, he’s just as thrilled with the outcome, and so are we.

Thanks to sound engineer Peter Kontrimas’s hard work, the mixing of the sound and mastering was almost complete as of last week. It was a pleasure working with him, Greg, and all of the musicians on the project.

We can’t wait to see Midlife when it comes out – when we receive a copy of the DVD, we intend to have our own screening party somewhere here in the Boston area. It will be open for any of our fans to attend, so stay tuned!

Get your tickets for JazzFest Falmouth now!

August 15th, 2013
Tickets are available now for the Yoko Miwa Trio’s performance kicking off JazzFest Falmouth on Sunday, September 29 at 4:00 pm. Now in its sixth year, JazzFest has quickly become a beloved tradition.

For those of you in the Cape Cod area, don’t miss this opportunity to catch the Yoko Miwa Trio live! For those of you within driving distance of Cape Cod, this is a perfect excuse to check out the beautiful town of Falmouth, which has a lively main street and 68 miles of coastline, during the peak season for fall foliage. The town is a “Preserve America” community, the only town on Cape Cod to be awarded this national distinction for historic preservation.

Highfield Hall, the venue for the Yoko Miwa Trio’s concert, is an elegant part of the area’s historic character. The 1878 mansion was built soon after the Cape was invigorated by the construction of a railway from Boston that made the area the summer community and destination it is today. Highfield Hall has been home to music and arts performances since the 1940s, when it was still a private estate, but for two decades it has been a nonprofit that preserves the history of this beautiful building and brings in talented performers.

When “Listen to This!” is a Gift

August 8th, 2013

The most gratifying time I ever recommended music to someone, I was about fifteen (Tegan, the blogger, here). I considered my mom’s close friends to be like aunts when I was growing up. My mom’s friend Paula, who lived a few towns over, had given us a lot of mix tapes over the years, and I had discovered a number of my favorite artists through her. Then one day, I read an interview with an indie singer/songwriter who it sounded like I would like, and who was going to be playing in the town where Paula lived. My mom and Paula and I went together – a few of my teenaged friends questioned the fact that I went to concerts with my mom, but we had the same taste in music, I automatically had a ride, and she often bought my ticket, so I saw no reason not to. After the concert, Paula said to me, “that was great – thanks for finding her!” I felt so proud that after years of recommendations from Paula, I had a recommendation to share.

This memory came up for me because when talking about weekend plans, a friend recently mentioned to me that she was going to Ryles for the jazz brunch. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said, “I haven’t been to Ryles in years – I keep meaning to go back, but what got me to go this time was that a friend strongly recommended the pianist who’s playing, Yoko Miwa. Have you heard of her?” I had to chuckle, and I explained that I’m not only a fan but the trio’s blogger. The conversation, and the memory it triggered, made me think about two things. One, it’s easy to go for years without going to a beloved restaurant or venue, or the show of a musician you love, unless someone or something reminds you. Two, recommending music to someone can be a very big and very personal gift.

The Trio’s drummer Scott Goulding remembers, “When I was only 16 years old, and visiting my sister at Harvard, I was standing around in Harvard Square at night when someone offered me a ticket to see Stan Getz at the Regattabar. I had heard his name but didn’t know much more about him other than he played saxophone. I ended up becoming a huge fan. I feel it must have been fate though because I never had a chance to see him perform again before he passed.”

Scott Goulding, drummer for the Yoko Miwa Trio

Do you have any special memories of a time when you recommended music, or found a new favorite artist through a recommendation?

Who have you recommended the Yoko Miwa Trio to?

Throwback Thursday

August 1st, 2013

Some blogs and social media feeds have a Throwback Thursday every week, sharing gems from the past. We don’t want to inundate you with throwbacks, but they can be fun once in a while, so here are a few for your reading, listening, and browsing pleasure:

For those of you with a MySpace account, the Trio does have a MySpace page you can check out for a different kind of throwback.

Check out “In the Mist of Time,” Yoko’s 2001 CD, which-legendary jazz critic James Isaacs said “amply displays her burgeoning talent as a writer of melodically inviting, impressionistic material, as well as introducing a technically assured soloist with a clean, singing sound and an occasional penchant for the blues in pastels.”

Video of a performance in Japan in 2007.

The blog only comes out once a week, so if you are craving more Yoko Miwa Trio news, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter, but you can also explore the rest of the website and the blog’s archives.