In 2013, Vail Jazz Party producer, Howard Stone heard Akiko play in NYC.
He invited her to play at the next Vail Jazz Party that same year. He said, “I have a drummer for you.” A few months later, Howard heard old friend and Vail Jazz Party veteran, Jeff Hamilton, play and said, “Have I got an organ player for YOU!”
At the annual Labor Day event, the two were put together on a set. Within the first minute, they and the audience were all smiles. The musical connection proved that Howard Stone was right!
Akiko then asked Jeff to record with her the following March for her next cd. She asked guitarist, John Hart to round out the trio for that recording, “Commencement”.
Akiko and Jeff continued to work occasionally with many performances in Los Angeles. John Hart became the Guitar professor at U. Of Miami. Guitarist Graham Dechter had been playing with Hamilton for several years in the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra as well as Dechter’s own CDs. The three of them began working together and realized the compatibility among them.
That trio recorded “So Cute, So Bad” April 2017. They continue to perform including a performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center.