Keigo Hirakawa

Biography Keigo Hirakawa

Keigo Hirakawa

Keigo Hirakawa
Over the period of 20 years as a professional jazz pianist and 7 full-length album appearances (3 as leader), Keigo Hirakawa has transformed himself from a student of the jazz masters to an artist with vision and unique sense of expressions. Though his engagements may include jazz clubs to music halls and jazz festivals, he takes the time to contribute to his home music scene through mentorship and appearances with up-and-coming talents. The jazz piano trio he leads is well-known throughout the Midwest for their willingness to be musically spontaneous on stage, exploring original compositions and redefining jazz standards to make it their own. Sought after for his articulate use of harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary and his leadership style on the bandstand, Hirakawa can be heard throughout the US and internationally.

Trained in New York City and at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Hirakawa is fortunate to have been mentored by many world-class jazz artists, including Danilo Perez, Stephen Scott, Harold Danko, Alan Pasqua, Ran Blake, Cecil McBee, Ralph Peterson, Jerry Bergonzi, Donald Byrd, John McNeil, George Garzone, Bob Moses, and Walt Weiskopf. He has appeared on stage alongside Donald Byrd, Joe Lovano, JD Allen, Carla Cook, Bobby Lavell, Bob Moses, and Allen Vizzutti; toured with Duane Eubanks and Noah Preminger; has performed with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra; and his latest album features the jazz bass legend Robert Hurst. He was the acting director of the Cornell University Jazz Ensembles in 2000-2001, during which time he welcomed Donald Byrd, Jimmy Heath, Wycliffe Gordon, Terell Stafford, Vincent Herring, and Joe Chambers onto the stage as guest soloists. He is a passionate clinician and educator, and is on faculty at the University of Dayton.

2010 marked the released of Hessler-Cabrillo Run Down, Hirakawa's first album as a co-leader with saxophonist Joshua Smith. Dedicated to the late comic writer and jazz critic Harvey Pekar, the album celebrates the Avant Garde jazz with every track improvised without any precomposed music. The album features Kurt Kotheimer and John Schifflett on bass, and Tim Bulkley and Hamir Atwal on drums.

Hirakawa released a critically acclaimed trio album And Then There Were Three in 2015 with long time collaborators Eddie Brookshire on bass and Fenton Sparks on drums. Piano trio format itself may be a tradition in jazz, but the trio defies expectations by Hirakawa shifting through time and rhythm over a powerful rhythm section committed to swinging hard.

His latest quintet album Pixel to be released in 2023 features Robert Hurst on bass, Rafael Statin on saxophone, Brandon Coleman on guitar, and Alex White on drums. His distinctive compositional style invites soloists to dig in all the way, with punchy guitar-piano rhythm section riding over undeniable force of the bass notes that Hurst is known for.

He also appears as a sideman on Brandon Coleman's Infinite Loop (2017), Kota Sawaguchi's Cats on the Fence (Una Mas Label, 2018), Joseph Howell's Live in Japan (Summit Records, 2021), and G Scott Jone's Walk With Me (2022).

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