Junko Onishi

Junko Onishi

geboren am 16.4.1967 in Kyoto, Honshu, Japan

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Junko Onishi (musician)

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Junko Onishi (musician)

Junko Onishi ( Onishi Junko?, born April 16, 1967 in Kyoto) is a Japanese jazz pianist; she plays in the post-bop genre.

Early career

After studying at Berklee Onishi moved to New York City, where she played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, Kenny Garrett, and Mingus Dynasty. She has also worked with Jackie McLean, Holly Cole, and Billy Higgins, among many others, and recorded eight CDs for Blue Note (Somethin' Else in Japan) as a leader.

Although she lists Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Ornette Coleman as her primary influences, her playing is also reminiscent of McCoy Tyner and contemporaries such as Kenny Kirkland and Mulgrew Miller.

Onishi appeared in the 1997 documentary Blue Note: A Story Of Modern Jazz, playing the song "Trinity" ("Quick") from her album Play, Piano, Play.

Hiatus and later career

Onishi stopped performing in the late 1990s, having chosen to study and practise. When Jaki Byard, her mentor at that time, died in 1999, she stopped playing completely for two years: "I felt like I lost everything; I felt like I didn't have any more mentors".[1] She had to redevelop her technique when she decided to return, and started going to a gym to help her cope with the physical demands of playing.[1]

In 2009 Blue Note a new trio album, Musical Moments, was released. The following year, Baroque, a Verve release with a much larger band, was released.[1]


Albums as leader

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1992 Wow Somethin' Else Trio, with Tomoyuki Shima (b), Dairiki Hara (d)
1993 Cruisin' Somethin' Else Trio, with Rodney Whitaker (b), Billy Higgins (d)
1994 Live at the Village Vanguard Somethin' Else Trio, with Reginald Veal (b), Herlin Riley (d). In concert
1994 Live At The Village Vanguard, Volume II Somethin' Else Trio, with Reginald Veal (b), Herlin Riley (d). In concert
1995 Piano Quintet Suite Somethin' Else Quintet, with Eiichi Hayashi (as), Marcus Belgrave (tp, voc), Rodney Whitaker (b), Tony Rabeson (d)
1996 Play, Piano, Play Somethin' Else Trio, with Shigeo Aramaki (b), Dairiki Hara (d). In concert
1998 Fragile Somethin' Else Onishi also plays keyboards. With Reginald Veal (b), Karriem Riggins, Motohiko Hino, Tamaya Honda (d; separately)
Self-portrait Somethin' Else Compilation
2008-09 Musical Moments Somethin' Else Trio, with Yousuke Inoue (b), Gean Jackson (d). Bonus track from 2008 is trio, with Reginald Veal (b), Herlin Riley (d)
2010 Baroque Verve

Other recordings

Year recorded Leader Title Label
1994 Shigeharu Mukai J Quintet Featuring Junko Onishi Somethin' Else
1996 Jackie McLean Hat Trick Blue Note
1996 Joe Lovano Tenor Time Somethin' Else
1999 Phil Woods Cool Woods Somethin' Else


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Murph, John (November 2010) "Junko Onishi: Time to Reflect" JazzTimes.

External links

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