Emi Takada Celebrates New Album Release with Performance at Birdland
Why Did I Choose You follows up on the success of Emi Takada's previous recording I'm All Smiles. She sings ten classic songs with understated feeling and sensitivity while joined by a swinging quartet comprised of pianist Michael Kanan, guitarist Satoshi Inoue, bassist Neal Miner, and drummer Dwayne "Cook" Broadnax.
Emi Takada puts plenty of feeling into her interpretations, picks great songs, swings no matter what the tempo, and always displays sincerity while digging deep into the meaning behind the lyrics.
Inspired by the concise and tasteful solos of pianist Kanan and guitarist Inoue, Ms. Takada performs such numbers as "It Might As Well Be Spring," "All The Things You Are" (starting with its rarely-heard verse), a dreamy jazz waltz version of "I'm In The Mood For Love," and heartfelt renditions of "You Must Believe In Spring" and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye."
Her mentor, singer Marion Cowings, guests on a few numbers including a combination of "Blue Skies" and "In Walked Bud" which features the two vocalists joyfully interacting, as well as "Miagete Goran Yoru No Hoshi Wo (Look Up At The Night Stars)," a very important song loved by all Japanese people. Emi Takada pays tribute to Cowings' mentor Jon Hendricks on "No More Blues" (which has Hendricks' English lyrics) and to composer Michael Leonard (whose "I'm All Smiles" was the title track of her previous album) on a slow and emotional "Why Did I Choose You." And to display her versatility, the singer also performs a bluesy "Story Weather" and an uptempo "Lover Come Back To Me."
Emi Takada was born in Sapporo, Japan. She began singing when she was ten in the Boys and Girls Choral Group and sang classical music while growing up. She first visited the United States in 1997 where she joined the Houston Symphony Chorus as a soprano. Back in Japan, she worked steadily in a variety of settings and became very interested in jazz. In 2010 she came to New York to study with Marion Cowings, starting her career as a jazz singer and appearing in New York clubs.
Emi was based in Houston, Texas during much of 2011-16 where she performed with pianist Bob Henschen, but also had a monthly gig in NYC during 2015-16 and sang in Tokyo (with guitarist Satoshi Inoue) and Sapporo. In 2014 she released her first recording I'm All Smiles which received positive and enthusiastic reviews.
Emi Takada moved to Tokyo in 2017 but visits and performs regularly in New York where she recorded Why Did I Choose You? Upcoming in September, she will be making her debut at NYC's Birdland to celebrate the release of her memorable new album.