Meg Okura & Kevin Hays

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Jazz composer and violinist Meg Okura, alongside pianist Kevin Hays, collaborates to form a dynamic jazz duo. Together, they present original compositions and innovative renditions of jazz standards. The duo's musical journey began in Harlem in 2014, and they made their debut at the iconic "Stone" in New York City in 2016.

A Tokyo native, Meg Okura is a jazz composer and violinist based in the Bronx, New York. Her impressive career includes touring with notable figures such as Lee Konitz, Michael Brecker, Tom Harrel, Steve Swallow, as well as performing with various Jewish music groups and Cirque du Soleil shows. Okura has contributed to nearly 100 recordings and soundtracks, collaborating with artists like David Bowie and Vince Giordano. She earned a Grammy nomination for her violin work on Emilio Solla & la Inestable de Brooklyn's album. Initially trained as a concert violinist, Okura gained recognition by touring Asia as a soloist and concertmaster with the Asian Youth Orchestra during her teenage years. Her U.S. solo debut took place at the Kennedy Center, and she later transitioned to jazz, obtaining her B.M. and M.M. degrees from Juilliard.

In 2023, Meg Okura received the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC) Fundamental Freedoms Commission Prize, the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM) Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Prize, BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own) Award, Copland House Residency Awards, NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music and Theatre Chamber Music America New Jazz Works, Jazz Road Creative Residencies Award, and numerous other grants.

Kevin Hays, the jazz pianist, composer, and singer/songwriter, has garnered critical acclaim for his numerous recordings, earning praise from The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, and Jazz Times. His work has also received the “Coup de Coeur” award from the Académie Charles Cros in France. Hays has made significant contributions as a guest artist on various albums, collaborating with artists like Chris Potter, Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Nicholas Payton, and Al Foster. His noteworthy collaborations include a piano duo project with Brad Mehldau (Modern Music - Nonesuch), world tours with James Taylor, Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Joe Henderson, and Roy Haynes.

Beyond his acclaimed career as a jazz pianist, Kevin Hays has gained recognition as a gifted singer/songwriter. In 2015, he released the widely praised recording "New Day" (Sunnyside), featuring his original songs and a compelling performance of the Jimmy Webb classic ‘Highwayman’.


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