Akiko Tsuruga Trio to Jazz Up Aaron Davis Hall this Spring

Jazz virtuoso Akiko Tsuruga will bring the hypnotic sound of her Hammond B-3 organ to Uptown audiences as the Akiko Tsuruga Trio swings into Aaron Davis Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24. A popular and innovative mainstay on the New York jazz scene, Tsuruga has been praised as one of the most dynamic performers in music. Performing with her bandmates Charlie Sigler on guitar and McClenTy Hunter on drums, Tsuruga will offer an exciting lineup of jazz standards and original compositions at the concert. The evening is presented by the City College Center for the Arts (CCCA).

Drawing influence from jazz greats including Grady Tate and Dr. Lonnie Smith, Tsuruga's performances have delighted audiences at prominent New York venues including Dizzy's Club Coca Cola/Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note and Smoke Jazz & Supper Club. A native of Osaka, Japan, Tsuruga started playing the organ at the age of three and later graduated from Osaka College of Music. She began making her mark in the music industry in her homeland and soon became a noted jazz composer, organist and pianist. Moving to New York City in 2001, Tsuruga has released seven albums and performed extensively both as the leader of her own trio and as a side musician for artists including Grady Tate's vocal group and the Lou Donaldson Quartet.

"The Akiko Tsuruga Trio is one of the musical acts that are helping to keep the American art form of jazz and jazz organ alive and vibrant, and a vital part of the New York live music scene," said CCCA Managing Director Gregory Shanck. "We are so pleased to have the group perform at Aaron Davis Hall and bring their unique sound to our community."

Tickets for the concert are $20 for reserved seating and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.citycollegecenterforthearts.org or by calling the box office at (212) 650-6900. Patrons wishing to buy tickets in person may visit Aaron Davis Hall Tuesday through Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Aaron Davis Hall is located on the campus of the City College of New York, at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue (129 Convent Avenue).

City College Center for the Arts can be followed on Twitter at @ccnyarts. For more information on the Akiko Tsuruga Trio concert and other performances at Aaron Davis Hall, visit citycollegecenterforthearts.org.


Akiko Tsuruga has been a mainstay on the New York jazz scene since 2001. The talented musician began playing the organ at the age of three in her native Japan. She launched her career after graduating from the Osaka College of Music, and in Osaka played with world-renowned jazz musicians from the United States. Grady Tate, in particular, had the strongest influence on her professional career, persuading her to move to the United States and performing on her Japanese debut album. Dr. Lonnie Smith is one of Tsuruga's greatest mentors and she considers him her biggest influence. Her talent also drew Lou Donaldson's attention, and in 2007 he chose her as his quartet's organist.

After landing in New York City, the mecca for jazz, it didn't take long for Tsuruga to make her mark. She was embraced by audiences and by her fellow musicians as one of the top organ players in the city, playing with Frank Wess, Jimmy Cobb, Jeff Hamilton, Lewis Nash, Jerry Weldon, Eric Alexander and Joe Magnarelli, among others. She also established herself as a featured organist at the great organ clubs in New York City and along the East Coast. She enjoys a great reputation performing with her own band, recently headlining at the Blue Note in Tokyo and the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival, and has also played at jazz festivals and jazz clubs all over the world, including Dizzy's Club Coca Cola/Jazz at Lincoln Center and Smalls Jazz Club (New York), the Green Mill (Chicago), Yoshi's (Oakland), and Pine Grill Reunion (Buffalo).

Tsuruga has released five albums in Japan and four in the U.S. Both of her first two U.S. releases, "Sweet and Funky" and "Oriental Express" (18th & Vine Records), ranked in the top 20 on national jazz radio charts. She has been a regular in DownBeat magazine's critics' polls since 2008 and, in 2012, she placed sixth in its Rising Star category and ranked in its readers' poll. Her third U.S. album, "Sakura," released in 2012, scored seventh on the national jazz radio chart. Her latest album, "Commencement," released in 2014 in the U.S. and in Japan, ranked fourth in the Jazz Week chart.

About the City College Center for the Arts:

The City College Center for the Arts hosts an ambitious, year-round calendar of student and professional performances. The mission of the City College Center for the Arts is to provide a creative arts center and focal point for the City College of New York, building a sense of community within the College, elevating the profile of Aaron Davis Hall in the greater New York area, and connecting the College to the surrounding community through the arts.

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