Tsuyoshi Niwa, soprano sax & flute
Jacob Varmus, trumpet
Art Hirahara, piano
Phil Palombi, bass
Brian Fishler, drums
Born in Tokyo in 1972, Tsuyoshi grew up in an environment where both art and technology were easily accessible. That's why his life as a musician began the same year he became a computer programmer. He picked up his first horn, the trumpet, and mastered his first computer language, BASIC when he was 10. Because he loves music deeply, he's always considered himself a passionate person. However, people often saw him an exceptionally cool and rational teenager because of his advanced knowledge in technology and his organized personality. They had no doubt that one day Tsuyoshi would be a great scientist.
By the time he graduated a university with a chemistry degree, he was more serious in saxophone jazz, which he had been playing since 15. He moved to NY and studied improvisation with George Garzone, and composition with Phil Markowitz. The formal education made him even more intrigued to jazz. To further experience the essence of it, he had to find a way to stay in NY longer. He became a full-time food analyst for a Japanese noodle factory in Queens, and in his after hours, he performed with his quartet, which had featured extremely talented musicians like Robert Glasper, Otis Brown III and many others. Three years later, he changed his field to the computer engineering, with which he was much more comfortable.
In 2003, a singer he'd been performing with had a huge break in her country of Italy. Amalia Gre offered him to record her first album together in Rome. It was an experience like nothing else. The next year, EMI Italy, Amalia's then record company offered him a supporting role for her first national tour. To sign the contract, he had to quit his job. But, it was obvious to him that he should take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, after nine years in NY, where he produced two albums under his name, “Sequence X” featuring Matt Wilson in 1997 and “Internal Dance (collector's edition)” in 2000, he left for Italy. Touring 30 different cities in Italy was another monument in his life. It was one genuine Italian drama after another. At Torino Jazz Festival 2004, he became friends with Michael Brecker, one of his idols who had won 11 Grammy Awards. After appearing on the same event, Brecker kindly saluted Amalia's whole crew in her backstage. He shook hands with Tsuyoshi and encouraged him to pursue his course because he has "a very beautiful soprano saxophone sound".
Before going back to Tokyo, Tsuyoshi had his own project in Rome, recording for Alfamusic to release a new version of "Internal Dance" (Alfamusic version). The album was released internationally and its release parties were held in Tokyo with lots of success. The music was also featured on a national jazz radio show, “Session 505” in 2005. In the next seven years, he primarily performed in jazz clubs in Tokyo, while he occasionally flew out to take part in international projects, such as Michoacan Music Festival 2004 in Mexico as a special guest to Juan Alzate, or Amalia Gre's second CD recording in Italy. His expertise in music and computer skills also gave him a new career of representing Sterling Sound, a premier mastering studio based in NY. The experience of managing music productions for other artists helped him prioritize his own future paths.
In 2011, Tsuyoshi came back to NY for the second time. Reuniting with old friends and making new friends through them is a unique and exciting element of coming back to his old town. It has been a sheer joy for him to make friends and work with internationally acknowledged artists such as the drummer, Billy Kilson and the trumpeter, Randy Brecker, the brother of Michael Brecker, who has also won numerous Grammy's.
131 W. 3rd St
New York, NY 10012