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more about aya

In a dynamic journey spanning three decades, Aya Sekine, a distinguished Japanese jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader, has left an indelible mark on the global jazz landscape. Born in Osaka in 1971 and raised both in Japan and Singapore, Sekine's artistic journey began at a young age, fostering a profound passion for music. Drawing from the rich traditions of jazz, particularly bebop and straight-ahead, Sekine's music radiates with a deep appreciation for the genre's heritage, while her fearless exploration of improvisation, experimentation, and diverse musical genres sets her apart as a true innovator. Sekine has studied privately with extraordinary jazz pianists such as Aaron Goldberg, Yuki Arimasa, and Bruce Barth, whose mentorship has helped refine her basics and enriched musical journey as a jazz pianist. However, it was the fateful lesson from the late legendary piano teacher Sophia Rosoff that transformed her piano technique forever, reshaping it from its very foundation in one hour. Additionally, Sekine cherishes the invaluable lessons she received from the late Brazilian keyboard virtuoso Cidinho Teixeira, whose expertise in Brazilian music and rhythm deeply influenced her musical style. From the bustling streets of New York City to the vibrant scenes of Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Netherlands, Sekine's performances have captivated jazz enthusiasts worldwide. Invited to perform at prestigious music festivals and stages, including her recent performance at the Thailand International Jazz Conference 2024, Sekine's style embodies a unique blend of artistic qualities: emotionally resonant phrasing, intricate harmonies, and, above all, exceptionally swinging rhythmic prowess developed through her percussionist background, inviting audiences into an immersive musical experience.  Over the years, Aya has performed with some of the heaviest cats in the industry such as Greg Glassman (tp), Marcus Printup (tp), Chris Cheek (sax), Dale Barlow (sax), Kavita Shah (vo), Erik Hargrove(dr), and great artists in Asia/Oceania region; Timothy O’Dwyer (sax), Christy Smith (bs) Joanna Dong (vo), Greg Lyons (sax), Alemay Fernandez (vo) Tan Hanjin (vo) Nathan Hartono(vo), Rahimah Rahim (vo), Louis Soliano (dr), Louis Pragasam (dr), and with myriad of great Japanese artists; Keizo Nobori (sax), Saigenji (gt), Yoshiro Okazaki(tp), Shinpei Ruike (tp), Shun Sakai (vo) Kuninori Tamamori (tp) and Homei Yanagawa (sax).  Academically, she has acquired a Performance diploma and degree from Berklee College of Music and LASALLE College of the Arts/Goldsmiths College. Additionally, she holds a Master’s degree in Arts & Cultural Management. Globally recognized for her community efforts to support the jazz community, she was invited as a guest panelist at UNESCO’s International Jazz Day Global Host Celebration 2020 in Melbourne by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. In 2018, Aya delved into visual art, producing vibrant digital paintings that mirror her mental and emotional states. Notably, her artwork has graced album covers for prominent musicians, including Jazz saxophonist John Ellis. Notably, Sekine has been granted permanent residency in the US under the category of individuals with Extraordinary Ability, also known as the 'Artist Greencard,' with the title 'jazz expert.' Since relocating to Detroit in early March 2024, she has actively participated in jam sessions and sitting in at renowned venues such as Cliff Bell’s, Aretha’s Jazz Cafe, Woodbridge Pub, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, and Bert’s Market Place. Swiftly garnering recognition for her artistic experience, mastery of jazz, and commitment to her unique voice, she has already been featured at notable venues like Parts & Labour, Willis Show Bar, Arierty’s Pub (Lansing), and experimental music epicenter, Trinosophe. Sekine remains dedicated to her artistic vision, solidifying her status as a dynamic force in contemporary jazz and the broader arts community in the United States.

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