mari koga - Vocalist

"Mari Koga! Take a note of that name....
Superb rhythm and musicality make her treat for all of us....
And those around who like jazz will especially get a boot out her scat work, like a horn." Mark Murphy - Jazz Vocalist

A Japanese born New Yorker, Mari Koga, started singing professionally when she was a college student in Osaka, Japan. Early on, she won the first prize at the 10th Annual Jetstream young vocalist contest. She was soon very much in demand as a young Jazz singer in Japan.

Mari came to New York City to immerse herself in New York jazz scene. Audiences have been delighted by her voice and unusual song arrangements with her throaty low register she scats with a horn-like improvisational style. Her interpretation of jazz standards use modern meters and chord changes to create sophisticated yet accessible music.

Mari has performed at popular New York venues such as Blue Note. She has also appeared at prestige jazz clubs in Tokyo. Mari first CD "Shabadaba" was release in 2002 by New York's musicMonkey label. Her arrangement of six jazz standards on the album.

Mari has also performed for commercial films with clients such as American Plastic Council and Marriot Hotels.


Chiemi Nakai - Pianist

A native of Japan, Chiemi Nakai moved to New York City in 1998 and graduated the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Masters of Art in Jazz Performance in 2002.

Her talents were recognized by Jimmy Bosch (tb) y su Salsa Dura, “Omi Odara” and Juan Carlos Formell (vo, gt) project called “The Cuban Mission” and so on. Also in 2006 she performed at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall with Carlos del Pino (b) Cuban project which collaborates with Cuban contemporary music composer Miss Tania Leon.

Since 2002 she has been a band leader of "Chiemi Nakai & the Afro- Cuban Jazz Project" and playing at several clubs in NYC such as Blue Note, The Kitano, Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, Willie’s steak house and so on.

The first album “bridges” released in March 2008 and was nominated as one of the "Next Generation Artist" CDs in the Latin Jazz Corner Best Latin Jazz of 2008 Award. Herself was nominated as one of the Best Pianists of the year at the same Award. Moreover the CD was selected as one of Top 6 Latin Jazz CDs of Diskunion Japan / Union Award 2008.