February 24, 2016Meg Okura Retrospective and Now- a Week Residency at the Stone

Meg Okura will present her retrospective and now during her week-long residency at the Stone in Lower East Side from March 29- April 3. She will be performing with ten different stellar ensembles with her collaborative artists including soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, another pianist Kevin Hays, as well as a Jewish Middle-Eastern band led by Basya Schechter, Pharaoh’s Daughter and Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM featuring Cyro Baptista.

On the opening night, Tuesday, March 29 at 8pm and 10pm, Okura will premiere her latest and the largest project, a 17-piece big band, “The J-Orchestra", presenting contemporary big band compositions by Japanese and Jewish jazz composers. The evening will include big band compositions featuring Okura’s violin written by award winning Japanese jazz composers Miho Hazama, Asuka Kakitani, Noriko Ueda and Migiwa Miyajima, as well as works by an Israeli composer Idan Santhaus and Meg Okura herself who is a Japanese American Jew by choice.

June 16, 2015Meg's "Ima" to be Performed by the BMI NY Jazz Orchestra on June 25th!

Meg got accepted into BMI Jazz Composers Workshop last fall, and has been working hard on big band jazz compositions since then. Founded in 1988, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop is one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious orchestral lab programs for professional jazz artists. Funded by Broadcast Music Inc, the workshop accepts about a dozen applicants each year for the workshop’s free, three‐year intensive program.

The BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra is a 17‐piece modern repertory ensemble featuring leading New York musicians. Once a month from September‐May, the orchestra reads new works‐in‐progress from the workshop composers. This annual showcase concert features nine “best of the best" new big band works composed during the 2014‐15 BMI Jazz Workshop.

Meg has composed three pieces to date; A Summer In Jerusalem, Concerto for Amplified Violin and Jazz Orchestra, and Ima. She will be conducting her latest work Ima.

Thursday, June 25 at 7:30 pm
Christ and St. Stephen’s Church
27th annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Showcase

January 01, 2015Nomination for the 57th GRAMMY Awards!

Meg is officially a Grammy Nominee for her tireless collaboration for the last four years with Emilio Solla y La Instable de Brooklyn- the band is ready to grab the 2015 Grammy in Latin Jazz!

March 03, 2014New Music USA Announces the Winners!

New Music USA announced the grantees of the latest Project Grant last week. Of the 1,618 projects received, Ima Ima - (L'dor Vador) by The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is one of 60 projects awarded and now published on www.newmusicusa.org. The project is one of the 3% of projects that were awarded in one of the most competitive rounds in the organization's history. Congratulations, Meg & the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble!

February 11, 2014Check out Meg's New Blog site "Chording To MEG"

Meg has finally started a formal blog site called "Chording To Meg" where she discusses religion, culture, race, motherhood and all that jazz. Feel free to share, leave your thoughts, comment, or ask any questions!

November 26, 2013CD Release "Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto on December 6th at Rubin Museum

Please join Meg Okura & the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble celebrating the release of "Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto" CD on December 6th at Rubin Museum!

Meg Okura (violin, erhu)
Anne Drummond (flute)
Helen Sung (piano)
Martin Wind (bass)
Yonadav Halevy (drums)

Special guest: Sam Newsome (saxophone)

October 12, 2013Quad City Arts presents Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble

Please watch this featured segment by Fran Riley on NBC! (feat. Meg Okura, Sean Kupisz, and Brian Marsella)

October 09, 2013It's Finally Here! My Latest Baby "Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto" CD!

"5/5 Excellent" - The World Music Report
My Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble's latest album "Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto" is finally here! Featuring Anne Drummond, Helen Sung, Dezron Douglas, & E.J. Strickland. "This is very good, and at times even brilliant. I am also sure this will not only appeal to Ryuichi Sakomoto fans. Recommended!" - http://www.psychemusic.org

June 27, 2013Lincoln Center presents Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto by Meg Okura & The PACJE

Lincoln Center will present Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 pm on June 27 at David Rubenstein for their Target Free Thursday series. The ensemble will present "Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto" - re-imagining his classics from 1980's Yellow Magic Orchestra to Oscar winning film score "The Last Emperor" with live video art by Chika Iijima. The concert is open to public for free.

Thursday, June 27, 2013
David Rubenstein Atrium
61 West 62nd St
New York, NY 10023

January 13, 2013Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble plays at 2013 Winter Jazz Fest

Friday, January 11, 2013, Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble featuring Helen Sung, Jamie Baum, Dezron Douglas & E.J. Strickland performed at Zinc bar, kicking off 2013 Winter Jazz Fest! The place was packed, standing room only, many had to wait in line in rain outside on West 3rd street for a long time. Intimate, yet responsive audience welcomed the ensemble. The ensemble performed its new program "Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto" and there were a few fans of Sakamoto's in the audience. Our rendition of his most famous composition "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" featured Sung's soulful yet sophisticated intro and Douglas' intimate solo.

May 24, 2012Meg Receives Brand Personality Award for Her Contribution To The World Of Jazz

On May 20 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Asia Pacific Foundation awarded "Brand Personality Awards" to Meg Okura and eight other jazz musicians including Ahmad Jamal, Bluey from Incognito, Hiromi and Earnie Watts. The past recipients of this award include Chaka Khan, Earth Wind & Fire, and Kitaro.

January 20, 2012Meg Featured on PBS "Sound Tracks Presents Quick Hits"

Meg's cadenza solo is featured on PBS's "Sound Tracks" as a part of Tom Harrell Chamber Ensemble. Please check it out!

November 10, 2011Meg's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will perform at APAP on January 7, 2012

After taking nearly a year break, Meg is coming back with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble to the APAP conference in NYC on January 7, 2012. The ensemble will present a very special new program, "Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto." The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will re-imagine Sakamoto's classics from the 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond, including the Oscar winning soundtrack, the Last Emperor.

January 7, 2012
8:20 pm-8:40 pm
Regent Parlor 2nd Floor
Hilton Hotel New York

Do not miss!

May 04, 2011Meg Performs The National Anthem in Washington DC

Meg performed the National Anthem at the 17th Annual Gala Awards Dinner for the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies at The Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC on May 4th, 2011.

April 05, 2011Appearing in Jerusalem Tonight!

'Hot Jazz': Meg Okura and the Eric Neisberg Trio
Meg Okura (Japan) teams up with the Eric Neisberg Trio (Israel) for 'Jazz Meets Classical,' a cross-genre romp for the Gerard Behar Center's 'Hot Jazz' series.
Address: Gerard Behar Center, 11 Bezalel St.
Area:Rehavia
Parking: Free Parking
Phone:
+972-2-625-1139, +972-2-625-1306
Reservation: Available, always required
Time: 21:00
Cost/Adult: 115 ILS

March 11, 2011My family is okay

I was able to get in touch with my family in Tokyo via Skype and found out that everyone is fine. Thank you for your prayers. Meg

November 24, 2010Congratulations PACJE for a Superb Performance at Rubin Museum of Art

Meg & her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, featuring Anne Drummond, Michael Rabinowitz, Mamiko Kitaura, Yasushi Nakamura and Keita Okada, had just premiered four new works by Meg at Rubin Museum of Art last Friday, November 19th. The ensemble showcased solos and cadenzas by each player in a beautiful acoustic setting, helping audience experience chamber jazz at its best. The final piece of the evening was the world premiere of "Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha"--the piece inspired by the painting shown at the museum-- which was projected onto the stage for the duration of the performance.
There were some notables in the audience, including Fred Ho, Sam Newsome, Bill Milkowski, Elliot Simon, and others. At the conclusion of the performance, the Rubin Museum presented each member of the ensemble with a Tibetan scarf which signifies the highest honor.

October 19, 2010Meg Okura's PACJE Performs at Rubin Museum on November 19th

Meg will be performing her latest compositions for her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at Rubin Museum on Friday, November 19th, 2010. The concert is a part of "Harlem in Himalayas"- an acoustic jazz series presented by Rubin Museum with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

The program will include the world premiere "Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha" - a chamber jazz piece inspired by a painting of the same title at the Rubin Museum, which will be projected on the screen during the performance. And of course, you can visit to the museum to see the real thing as well.

Meg Okura
(violin, erhu)
Anne Drummond
(flute)
Mamiko Kitaura
(piano)
Yasushi Nakamura
(bass)
Keita Ogawa
(percussion)
Michael Rabinowitz
(bassoon)

November 19, 2010
7:00 pm
Rubin Museum of Arts

150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
$18.00 in advance / $20.00 day of

Box office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

September 27, 2010Meg Okura's PACJE coming to Corning Civic Music on Oct. 9th!

Meg and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is performing at Corning Museum of Glass, presented by the Corning Civic Music which has just kicked off their season with Paquito D'Rivera in September.

Saturday
October 9, 2010, 7:30 p.m.
Corning Museum of Glass
1 Museum Way, Corning NY 14830.
Corning Civic Music
1-800.531.3679

Meg Okura (violin/erhu)
Jamie Baum (flute)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Jennifer Vincent (bass)
E.J. Strickland (drums)

September 21, 2010"a stunning improvisation" and "magnificent new release" - new reviews on Jazz Times and Birmington Times

Meg's new release with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, "Naima," is getting some serious press these days. Jazz Times called Meg's solo on Naima is "a stunning improvisation," and the Birmingham Times' critic starts with “Naima is the magnificent new release from violin virtuoso Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble."

August 30, 2010New CD "Naima" Review on Financial Times!

Meg Okura's new CD "Naima" by her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble received four stars and a great review on Financial Times.

July 06, 2010Another Review on All About Jazz By Dan Bilawsky

A new review just came out on All About Jazz by writer Dan Bilawsky this week. He not only addresses the compositions, but also our individual performances, solos, vocal work, etc. Please check it out!

June 15, 2010New CD "Naima" Is Finally Out!!

The new album "Naima" by Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is finally out this month. “The first album was the music that came naturally to me without any objective. This album is…more Asian, more jazz, and more chamber music. Touring Asia as a teen was really a life-changing experience, making music with musicians representing nine different Asian countries, working closely together and traveling together. I draw upon my memories of Asia and try to access my feelings toward the people, the culture, and the nature and sceneries of Asia (for inspiration)," Meg says.
Featuring rare instruments the shinobue (Japanese bamboo flute) and the erhu (a two-stringed Chinese violin), which Meg plays in addition to the violin, the album is a “collection of original works that represent and symbolize the name of (the) group." The ensemble “…elegantly intertwine(s) elements of classical, jazz and world folk into a new sound…by presenting precisely played ethnically inspired original compositions in an exciting modern jazz context" (All About Jazz, Elliot Simon). This unique approach to music has earned her numerous grants and awards as a composer, making her to be one of today’s leading voices in the world chamber jazz.
Yet, Meg also offers two familiar tunes including the title cut “Naima." “The modal quality of Coltrane’s ‘Naima’ echoes with the music of French Impressionist period," she says. In this unique new version, she creates fluidity in texture and colors by writing arpeggios moving towards different directions while slowly shifting the chords to encompass stillness within movements. “It’s an Impressionist violin concerto meets modern Jazz with a hint of Japanese mode", Meg says. The other familiar piece on the album “Carpice", on the other hand, is a Latin jazz piece based on a theme from the famous Caprice No. 24 by the Italian composer and violinist, Nicolo Paganini. It features virtuosic cadenzas by Meg Okura herself and pianist Mamiko Kitaura.
The album ends with a 25-minute through-composed suite entitled “Lu Chai"--music inspired by a poem of the same title by Wang Wei, a great poet from the Chinese Tang Dynasty. “To play chamber jazz, most, if not all of the players in the group must be jazz improvisers," Meg says. The suite showcases variety of solos including one by the veteran jazz flutist, Anne Drummond, as well as solos on instruments not typically associated with jazz, such as the cello and even the erhu.
Today, Meg resides in New York City with her husband, soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, and says she is living her life, fulfilling her dreams and relishing every day in new understandings and identity.
“I take to heart the new challenges of being a composer, jazz violinist, Asian American, artist and wife, while at the same time, constantly reminding myself of the responsibility to do my absolute best to achieve foremost excellence in the arts..."

Personnel
Meg Okura (violin, erhu), Anne Drummond (flute), Jun Kubo (flute, shinobue), Rubin Kodheli (cello), Mamiko Kitaura (piano), Jennifer Vincent (bass), Willard Dyson (drums), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion), Dave Eggar (cello)

The album is now available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, DigStation, and many other sites.

May 04, 2010There Is No Small Gig in New York, a gig at Rosie O'Grady's

When I was a student at Juilliard, I remember one of the teachers telling us "There is no small gig in New York." He meant that you just never know who is in the audience, and what repercussion that one gig can have. Last night's gig at Rosie O'Grady's was no exception.

The internationally renowned "sax shop" Roberto's Winds' owner Roberto Romeo started a concert series called "Times Square Jazz" at the restaurant right downstairs from his shop on 46th Street right off Broadway. The shows happen every Monday, two groups a night featuring some of the most distinguished artists such as Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding, Greg Osby, Ravi Coltrane just to name a few.

Last night was my ensemble's turn to perform there, the first band to go on that night, followed by Marcus Strickland Trio. To be honest, performing in New York City can be a very rough thing as there are literally hundreds of shows playing on any given night, and to "get those busy New Yorkers out", can be a very difficult thing. So before the show, I did what I always do whenever I perform at a club in New York. I sent emails and sent invitations on FaceBook, and went to bed feeling a little bit concerned if anybody is going to show up.

As we were sound checking, some of the audiences started to show up. And soon, my concerns turned to excitement. Some of my most distinguished friends, these "busy" New Yorkers started to show up. Okay, we didn't have hundreds of people, but the ones who attended the show were: a painter, an author, a journalist, composers, jazz musicians, band-leaders, a singer-songwriter/star, a concert cellist, contortionists from Cirque du Soleil, and a very important person from the United Nations.

Maybe it's because jazz only attracts sophisticates. Or maybe it's a typical New York thing. In any case, it was so great to see some of the most distinguished, interesting and fascinating people I know all at once last night. The crowd wasn't huge, but it might have been the most concentrated population of important people I have had in the audience.

Frankly, I remember very few things that I learned at Juilliard, but I am glad I remembered this lesson--there is no small gig in New York, and you have to put the best foot forward no matter the size of the audience. And it looks like this gig is already leading to exciting future collaborations.

March 30, 2010Meg's PACJE playing at Rosie O'Grady's on May 3rd

Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will hit one of the newest and most happening jazz venues in town, Rosie O'Grady's (hosted by Roberto's Winds) on May 3rd. The ensemble will perform pieces from their upcoming album "Naima" (our second album) as well as the ones that will be on our third album.

Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble featuring
Gregg August (bass)
Anne Drummond (flute)
Alvester Garnett (drums)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Meg Okura (violin, erhu, and vocal)

149 West 46th Street
Cover: $20 (includes one drink)

March 21, 2010Come Out This Saturday, Meg's PACJE feat. Jamie Baum

Meg Okura 's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is performing this Saturday, March 27 at Shambhala Meditation Center in Chelsea. The ensemble will perform some of our new and intimate materials, featuring premiere jazz flutist Jamie Baum. Special guest, Sam Newsome.

March 10, 2010Meg Performs With David Benoit in LA Next Week!

Asia America Symphony in Los Angeles will present Meg Okura in concert with David Benoit Trio in Los Angeles, CA on March 20th. The program will include Mr. Benoit's Erhu Suite, his 80's hit song "Freedom at Midnight" among other funky jazz tunes!

Saturday March 20, 2010 – 8:00 PM
Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion
Rolling Hills Estates, California
Electric Violin & Er-hu virtuoso
Meg Okura with THE DAVID BENOIT TRIO
David Benoit, piano
David Hughes, bass
Jamey Tate, drums

This concert co-sponsored by the ARATANI FOUNDATION

March 02, 2010Meg Playing Solo Violin Tomorrow @ Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center

Meg will be playing her solo violin at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall to demonstrate the hall's acoustics. It will be a 30 min. of improvisation using both jazz and classical vocabularies, with hints of world music.

Please contact Lincoln Center for details.
morraca@lincolncenter.org
212-875-5190

February 05, 2010Meg Performs at Flushing Town Hall on Feb. 14, 2010!

Meg Okura is performing with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, featuring jazz-flute star Anne Drummond, on February 14, 2010 as a part of Flushing Town Hall’s Lunar New Year celebration.

Sunday, Feb 14th, 2:00 PM
Flushing Town Hall*

137-35 Northern Boulevard (at the corner of Linden Place)
Flushing, NY 11354
Tickets: $12
$10 Members & Students
$5 Children
(718) 463-7700 x222

Anne Drummond
(flute)
Alvester Garnett (drums)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Meg Okura (violin, erhu)
Jennifer Vincent (bass)

*To receive 15% off, mention the code “MO15" when you call (718) 463-7700 x222 or visit Flushing Town Hall box office.

**A Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America, Inc.
production
presented by Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts as
part of the Lunar New Year Festival.

January 20, 2010Meg Creates A Buzz With Her First Tie-Up TV Advertisement In Japan!

Meg had signed a tie up deal with a new Japanese cosmetics company "Madame Alba" for their first run of their television advertisement. This beautiful commercial featuring YAYOI, (Japanese super model) with Meg's music just started airing during the prime time hours on all of the major networks in Japan today. You have to watch carefully as Meg's name disappears after a few seconds into the commercial!

January 19, 2010Celebrate The Lunar New Year with Meg at Flushing Town Hall

Meg Okura will perform with the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, featuring jazz-flute star Anne Drummond on February 14, 2010 as a part of Flushing Town Hall's Lunar New Year celebration.

Sunday, Feb 14th, 2:00 PM
Flushing Town Hall

137-35 Northern Boulevard (at the corner of Linden Place)
Flushing, NY 11354
Tickets: $12
$10 Members & Students
$5 Children
(718) 463-7700 x222

Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
Anne Drummond
(flute)
Alvester Garnett (drums)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Meg Okura (violin, erhu)
Jennifer Vincent (bass)

January 12, 2010Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble was A Smash at APAP!

Saturday, January 9th, Meg Okura and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble performed at the annual APAP conference which took place at Hilton Hotel in New York last weekend. The ensemble was showcased at Regent Parlor which was presented by Golden Land Concerts & Connections, and agency whose roster includes Israeli super-star singer Noa as well as jazz bassist Avishai Cohen. Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble performed a seamless set of 15 min., showcasing their signature tunes such as Paganini's Caprice to Meg's latest composition, "Home" which showed the lyrical side of the ensemble. The crowd went nuts after the ensemble finished the Horse Race, a super energetic piece with groove changing, swinging at the highest tempo possible with bassist Jennifer Vincent walking with power and determination. Meg didn't break her string this year, but broke only a few pieces of erhu bow hair as she played her 16th note runs on horse race. The show case was an absolute smash and the ensemble is expecting a busy season in 2011-2012.

December 30, 2009Golden Land features Meg's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at 2010 APAP!

Golden Land's annual artist showcase features an impressive array of established world music, jazz, and cabaret ensembles and introduces exciting new acts as part of the APAP 2010 conference. The showcase is free and open to all professionals in the performing arts field.

PACJE will be performing at 8:30 sharp at NY Hilton Regent Parlor 2nd Floor
We will perform excerpts from our repertoire featuring Meg Okura on violin & erhu, Jun Kubo on flute & shinobue, Mamiko Kitaura on piano, Jennifer Vincent on bass, Alvester Garnett on drums.

October 06, 2009Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble Going Into the Studio!

In 2006, Meg founded her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, her first world chamber jazz project, consisting of mostly female, mostly Asian members. Since then, the ensemble has had some successes--from collaborating with an Oscar nominated film actor Terrence Haward to closing a two-month long festival in California, touring Japan, while staying active, performing in Festivals, theaters, clubs as well as churches. However, all of these things did not come easily. After the first year, Meg had to revamp the whole band because she wasn't getting what she needed from the band.

After the personnel change, which felt awkward at the time, the new members started performing together steadily for at least two years now with occasional subs and special guests. This past summer, Meg also added a wonderful jazz flutist Anne Drummond to the ensemble. Jennifer now plays the bass for the ensemble, and added Rubin Kodheli to play the cello who has subbed for Jennifer on occasions.

As the ensemble grew in size and quality, so did the repertoire. After the uncomfortable firing of the old band mates, Meg continued to write new compositions and arrangements having those musicians in mind. And what was more uncomfortable than having to fire the old band members is that Meg had to sell the ensemble's debut CD (with the old members) after each gig in front of the new members, who just gave a great performance.

So what should the ensemble do? They are finally going into the studio this month! Meg will record part of the ensembles repertoire in a recording studio for the first time since the debut CD was recorded in her apartment four years ago. Meg is hoping to release the ensemble's second album in 2010.

September 12, 2009Double Bill with Soprano Saxophonist Sam Newsome this Month!

Golden Land Concert and Connections will present a double bill performance featuring Sam Newsome playing solo saxophone & violinist/composer Meg Okura and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at DROM in New York City on Friday, September 25, 2009.

Program

Solo Soprano Saxophone Works by Sam Newsome
Performed by Sam Newsome

The Suite “Lu Chai" by Meg Okura
a chamber jazz suite inspired by a poem “Lu Chai" by Wang Wei
Performed by Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble

Anne Drummond (flute)
Willard Dyson (drums)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Rubin Kodheli (cello)
Jun Kubo (shinobue/flute)
Meg Okura (violin, erhu)
Jennifer Vincent (double bass)

Solo Soprano Saxophone Works by Sam Newsome
Newsome, named a “Rising Star" in the Soprano Saxophone category in this year’s 56th Annual Downbeat Critic’s Poll, will be performing music from his soon-to-be released CD, Blue Soliloquy, a collection of cross-cultural works for solo saxophone that takes listeners on a journey from the Mississippi Delta all the way to the mountains of Mongolia. Time Out New York has referred to Newsome’s solo works as “…an astounding display of extended techniques."

A Chamber Suite “Lu Chai" by Meg Okura
I. Empty Mountains
II. Echo of Voices
III. Sunlight
IV. Green Moss

For Okura and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, this will make their second appearance at Drom--the first being a sold-out concert last fall with Oscar Award winning actor/singer Terrence Howard. The ensemble will perform music from Okura’s extended suite “Lu Chai," (inspired by a poetry by Wang Wei) which fuses traditional sounds of Asia with contemporary classical and jazz. Originally commissioned by the Jerome Composer Commission Program (JCCP) in 2007, the suite will feature traditional instruments including Okura’s erhu (Chinese violin) and Jun Kubo’s shinobue (Japanese flute), as well as premiere jazz flutist Anne Drummond, Rubin Kodheli on cello, Jennifer Vincent on double bass, Mamiko Kitaura on piano, and Willard Dyson on drums.
Sam Newsome (solo) & Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble

September 25, 2009 – 7:00 PM
DROM -85 Avenue A (b/w 5th & 6th) New York City
Admission -$15 –For Tickets and Information call 212-777-1157

September 03, 2009Fashion's Night Out featuring Meg Okura Trio on Sept. 10!

The Wall Street Journal and Paul Stuart invite you to celebrate Fashion's Night Out with an exclusive after-hours event showcasing the latest Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole fall collections. Join us for an elegant evening of coktails, hours d'oeuvre and live music by DJ Reach & Meg Okura Trio, featuring Jennifer Vincent on bass & Pete Smith on guitar. Special guest, The Wall Street Journal's style columnist, Christina Binkley.

September 10, 2009
6:30-9:00pm

Free & Open to public.

Paul Stuart
Madison Avenue @ 45th Street
New York

RSVP to paulstuartfashionsnightout@wsj.com

July 29, 2009Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble debuting on the West Coast!

On Sunday, August 30th at 7:00, we will making our west coast debut at The Levitt Pavilion Pasadena at Memorial Park as a part of "Music Under The Stars" - Levvit Pavilion's free concert series which runs throughout the summer. Levitt is presenting us in their new series called "Tru Jazz New Jazz" - a series which introduce diverse jazz artists from straight ahead to smooth jazz. So please tell everyone!

Meg Okura
(violin, erhu)
Mamiko Kitaura
(piano and keyboard)
Jun Kubo
(flute, shinobue)
Jennifer Vincent
(bass)
Willard Dyson
(drums)

Sunday, August 30th, 2009 7:00 PM
The Levitt Pavilion
85 E. Holly St. (Memorial Park on Raymond and Walnut Ave)
Admission – Free
Information 626-683-3230

July 17, 2009Celebbrate Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary with the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble!

Lincoln Center Meet The Artist Program is presenting Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at two of the borough libraries this month. First at Forest Hills Library in Queens, then at the Bronx Library. As a part of Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary Celebration, they are sending Meg and her ensemble to the boroughs to share the joy of music & art.

The ensemble is joined by special guests including, flute Goddess, Anne Drummond as well as drummer extraordinaire Alvester Garnett.

June 02, 2009Meg's Summer 2009

Meg has been back in New York almost for a month now, working very hard on her latest project, basically spending all of her time in her home studio 24/7. She even finds the time to play Nintendo's Wii Sports and Wii Fit in the living room once in a while! She occasionally comes out of her unit when absolutely necessary, such as when getting a cup of coffee from a Starbucks in the building.
However, this month will be different. She will not only be leaving the room, but actually be going to take a plane to Puerto Rico to give masterclasses at the Suzuki School of Puerto Rico, where she will be teaching improvisation and different styles of violin playing. Her husband will later join her to vacation there. Then, the end of this month, she will leave for Poland to perform with Pharaoh's Daughter. Her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will debut in the Bronx and Queens in July, then in Los Angeles this August!!

April 08, 2009Meg Is Coming Back to the U.S. Next Month!

Meg is coming back to NYC next month after an extensive engagement with a Cirque du Soleil production called "Coreteo" which is currently on tour in Japan for 16 months. She is looking forward to getting back into working on her album, rehearsing and performing with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble as well as other New York groups.

February 12, 2009Meg Performing in Tokyo with CORTEO

Meg is now performing in Tokyo with a Cirque du Soleil's production "Corteo" in Tokyo. Please come check her out!

January 08, 2009Come Hear Meg Okur's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble at APAP

We are pleased to announce that Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will be appearing at the 2009 APAP showcase as a part of the Golden Land Concerts and Connections, a premiere booking agency in New York City. We will be performing a 35 min. set, (using two time slots as one) which includes Okura's original arrangements of John Coltrane's "Naima", Paganini "Caprice No. 24", music from China "Horse Race", as well as Okura's popular originals "Afrasia" & "Dance at the Palace."

Sutton Suite -Regent Parlor at Hilton Hotel in New York City
January 10, 2009

9:30 PM - 10:10 PM

Meg Okura (violin & erhu)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Jun Kubo (flute & shinobue)
Jennifer Vincent (bass & cello)
Willard Dyson (drums)
Mathias Kunzli (percussion)

November 23, 2008Meg Performs at Madison Square Garden with Cirque du Soleil's WINTUK!

Meg had just performed her first five shows for this year's WINTUK at Madison Square Garden this past week. She is performing the violin throughout the show, and on stage for the straps act in the second act of WINTUK. She will be back on December 4th for two weeks. Please come by at WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden to see Meg perform!

November 03, 2008Congratulations to NY ALL STAR STRINGS w/ Mariko Takahashi @ Carnegie Hall!

Led by Meg Okura, New York All-Star Strings performed at Carnegie Hall as a part of Mariko Takahashi's completely sold out concert last Friday. The quality and caliber of the musicians were unquestionable, receiving raving comments by the industry executives and the artist herself. The special feature of the orchestra, "Sketches of New York" written by Meg was also a huge success also, and was a great surprise for the audience. There is a talk about possibly doing this again. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

October 27, 2008Oscar-Nominated Actor Will Sing With Meg This Sunday at DROM!!!! Do Not Miss!!!!

Academy-nominated Columbia/SONY recording artist from dozens of our favorite movies will come sing with Meg and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble this Sunday at DROM at 8pm. It will be a very special evening for Meg, and she would love to have your presence there.

MEG OKURA'S Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
November 2nd, 2008 – 8:00 PM
DROM -85 Avenue A (b/w 5th & 6th) New York City
Admission -$15 –For Tickets and Information call (212) 777-1157
www.dromnyc.com

September 20, 2008Meg Okura’s “Sketches of New York” Carnegie Hall Premiere

Meg was recently commissioned by the MUSIX CORPORATION in Japan to write a medley arrangement of several New York/American tunes for a 23-piece string orchestra. The piece is entitled “Sketches of New York" and will be premiered at Carnegie Hall on October 31, 2008 as a part of Mariko Takahashi Debut 35th Anniversary Concert.

September 08, 2008One Autumn Night -Come join us for an evening of cocktail, music and dance with live auction!

On Friday, September 19th, C. Eule Dance is having a benefit party at Tenri Cultural Institute (43A West 13th Street, New York City) to raise money for their upcoming performance of the Crane Wife. The event will include cocktail, live music, Japanese dance by Momo Suzuki, and a dance performance of excerpts from the Carne Wife (choreography by Caron Eule, and original score by Meg Okura). And of course PACJE members will there to show our support, but more for the fun. The live auction items will include dates with hot dancers paired with restaurant gift certificates. My friends Mu Pan and Kazuo Ooka have kindly donated their amazing art works for the auction as well. There will be some jamming with the house band, food and wine, and many beautiful people. So please do not miss this opportunity to support performing and get to know us! Let’s party!

One Autumn Night
Friday, September 19th, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Tenri Cultural Institute
43A West 13th Street, New York City

The proceeds will support their free community performances with the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz at Pier 66 as a part of the openhousenewyork weekend.

August 05, 2008Meg Receives “Metlife Creative Connections” Grant from the Meet The Composer

Meg was recently selected for the “Metlife Creative Connections" grant by the Meet The Composer for her upcoming performances of the Crane Wife with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble and the C. Eule Dance. This is her third time receiving the Creative Connections grant.

June 28, 2008Meg Okura's PACJE - Big Success in Japan

After our debut in Japan, PACJE has safely returned to our home in NYC. We wanted to thank our unbelievably enthusiastic audiences for coming to our concerts, buying our CD, giving us standing ovations, and just so much love! We have never felt so much support anywhere else! We would also like to apologize to those two hundred friends and fans, those who were not able to purchase the tickets due to the limited seats in the house. Next time, we will perform at a larger theater so we can perform for more friends and fans! We have uploaded some video clips on YouTube. (click on this link for our "Horse Race" encore!) So please check them out! Also, the final concert at Ome Shimin Hall will be aired on Tama Cable Network in July! Also, please email us any pictures of us with you in Japan so I can put them up on this site!

June 13, 2008Tickets SOLD OUT for Ome Shimin Hall- Come to Sengawa!!

Good news is that tickets for all 600 seats for the concert at the Ome Shimin Hall are now completely sold out. The bad news is that all 600 seats are sold out. If you would still like to catch Meg Okura & Sam Newsome Quintet, and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble featuring the legendary Tommy Campbell, please come to our concert at Kick Back Cafe in Sengawa on June 19th! There might be limited seats available.


E-mail info@kickbackcafe.jp
TEL 03-5384-1577

June 04, 2008Read about Meg's Crane Wife On the New York Times

The last week's dance performance by C. Eule Dance and Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble was reviewed on the New York Times on June 3rd. Please check it out!

June 01, 2008Meg Okura Coming To JAPAN!

Check out Meg's concert schedule!

May 01, 2008“The Crane Wife” by C. Eule Dance and The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble - Coming to NYC!

Premiered last February at the Kumble Theater in downtown Brooklyn, this exquisite production of dance and live music of the “Crane Wife" will finally be brought to Manhattan, total of three performances at the University Settlement this month: May 30th and May 31st at 8PM, and a Family Matinee (consisting of The Crane Wife, followed by a dance workshop) on May 31st at 3PM. Tickets for the evening performances are $15, $10 for students, seniors, and free for children under 12. Tickets for the Family Matinee and Workshop are $7. To reserve tickets call (212)453-4532 or email project.audience@gmail.com. The Performance Project @ University Settlement is located at 184 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10022 (on the corner of Rivington St.) F/V to Second Ave, B/D to Grand Street.
Choreographer Caron Eule and composer, jazz violinist and erhu player Meg Okura collaborated to create The Crane Wife. Intertwining traditional Japanese culture with cutting edge movement and live music, the work re-imagines an ancient Japanese fable. The Family Matinee will be followed by a hands-on workshop in which children will retell the story of The Crane Wife using their own invented movements. The evening program will also include a segment of original music by The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, as well as two C. Eule Dance favorites:
Prelude/Nocturne – a contemporary ballet performed to piano music by Scriabin and Chopin where Koji Atwood seamlessly plays the piano while performing the pivotal role in the piece, merging the line between dancer and pianist.
Jazz Tunes of the '20s – a suite of three vignettes, which blends contemporary dance with musical theater elements set to the popular songs of The Manhattan Rhythm Kings.
C. Eule Dance is a New York City-based modern dance company under the direction of choreographer Caron Eule. Ms. Eule fuses classical modern dance, ballet, gymnastics, and traditional dances from around the globe, often collaborating with local musicians to create new scores for dance. As Lori Ortiz (Gay City News) described, “Talented dancers and musicians engage their adoring and returning crowds with visceral magic."www.ceuledance.org
Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble dazzles audiences with “improvisational virtuosity" (Guardian) and “classically trained mastery of strings, piano, and drums with quick-witted compositional twists performed with high energy" (Downbeat). While the ensemble resonates exotic tonalities, “…reminiscent of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner's Eastern explorations" (New York Sun), it also bridges the gaps between classical and contemporary music with their unique interpretations of masterpieces ranging from Beethoven to Piazzolla. www.panasianchamberjazzensemble.com

April 21, 2008Suzuki School in Puerto Rico Invites Meg Back This Summer.

Meg is returning to Puerto Rico this summer again to work with violin students at Martin Goldman's Suzuki School. She will be working on basic concepts of syncopated rhythms, montunos, improvising using pentatonic scales and blues scales while having a ton of fun. June 7 through 9th.

March 28, 2008Meg Heads to Japan This Summer!

It has been over four years since Meg had last toured with the late Michael Brecker. This summer, Meg is returning to Japan with her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble along with her husband for the past three and 1/2 years, great saxophonist Sam Newsome. We have several concerts booked, and hope to see some of you over there!

February 18, 2008Special Thanks from Meg -Lu Chai & Crane Wife's Great Success Last Night!

Thank you so much for coming out last week to attend my concert with the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble for the premiere of my composition "Lu Chai" and the dance suite "The Crane Wife."

Special thanks to

Jerome Foundation
American Composers Forum
Members of the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
(Mamiko, Jun, Jennifer & Rich)
Caron Eule
C. Eule Dance
Momo Suzuki
Alison Hiroto
Rodney Herly
Sam Newsome

We couldn't have done this production without you!

And by the way, the show was absolutely gorgeous!! See you all in May.

Love,

Meg

January 16, 2008Come Celebrate Asian New Year With PACJE & C. Eule Dance!

The Kumble Theater of Brooklyn invites you to join the Asian New Year celebration with Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, C. Eule Dance, and Hung Ga Lion Dance Team.

Program:
Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
premiere of Meg Okura's "Lu-Chai"

C.Eule Dance & Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
excerps from "Tsuruno Ongaeshi"(Crane Wife) choreographed by Caron Eule, and original music composed by Meg Okura

Hung Ga Linon Dance Team
Ribon Dance

February 15, 2008
Kumble Theater
7:30 p.m.

February 16, 2008
Kumble Theater
3:00 p.m.

January 08, 2008Come See Meg Okura and PACJE at Knitting Factory This Saurday!

Meg Okura and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will be performing at 2008 NYC Winter Jazz Fest this Satuday at Knitting Factory. Over 5000 arts professionals will be in New York City for the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference from January 11-14. As there will be hundreds of showcases scheduled throughout the weekend around the city both at the Hilton Hotel and in alternative venues, the Knitting Factory offers APAP conference attendees, and the general public, the opportunity to experience the best of today's new live jazz and experimental music in a club venue setting.

The 2008 festival will feature 23 diverse groups including Dave Douglas, Don Byron, David Murray, Eldar and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

The Knitting Factory welcomes all Arts Presenter conference badge-holders to RSVP and reserve their Full-Club Pass to the 2008 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST on January 12th, by emailing rsvp@winterjazzfest.com. Only 2008 APAP Conference attendees are able to RSVP. Tickets / Full-Club Passes are available to the General Public for $25 at www.knittingfactory.com. For more information spend time at www.winterjazzfest.com

This Saturday, January 12, 2008
6:20-7:20 pm
Knitting Factory
74 Leonard Street (Church & Bway)
Knitting Factory

December 25, 2007Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

Until this past year, we thought our メmarriageモ was the biggest change in our lives. But this summer, something else changed our lives forever. Letユs just say that it starts with an メmモ and it is not メmotherhood.,モ itユs called メmortgage.モ On August 22, 2007, we bought a new condo in Manhattan, which is a big change from renting an apartment in Brooklyn. Yes, we decided to stop paying our landlordユs mortgage, and decided to pay our own, instead. We moved in on September 2nd, and bought some new furniture pieces including Megユs new Young Chang upright! We will be ready for a house-warming party/jam session in springtime, which you will be all invited to.

2007 for us started with very sad news on January 13- grave loss of our friend and greatest tenor saxophonist of our time, Michael Brecker. However, we were blessed with two new lives in our family. Megユs little sister Sarah gave birth to a baby girl Hannah (pronounced in Japanese for メflower,モ spelled in Chinese meaning brilliant, gorgeous) in April, and Samユs little nice Tawanda just gave birth to a baby boy メTavionモ this November, which make us great uncle and great aunt! Praise the Lord.

We also had other happy news this year. Samユs latest album, メMonk Abstractionsモ his first solo soprano saxophone album was just chosen as メBest Tribute Album of the Year 2007モ by All About Jazz. He has self-released the album this summer, and is now back enjoying his second year as the assistant professor at the Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus while continuing his performing and touring schedules. He had his first trip to Poland this fall and recorded an album as a co-leader on Jazzaway Records label with Lucian Ban. The CD will be released late September, 2008.

Meg is also juggling her busy schedule with two circuses this winter. She is performing in the Big Apple Circus Band as the new jazz violinist, and also filling in for the WINTUK- a new cirque du soleil show at the Madison Square Garden! She is also working on two new large compositions for her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble: one is a suite メLu Chaiモ based on a Tang Dynasty poetry, and the other one is collaboration with Choreographer Caron Eule, a dance suite based on a folk tale メThe Crane Wifeモ (Tsuru-no On-Gaeshi), told through music and dance. Even thought her schedule is rather hectic, her commute from our new place is only 10-15min. to Columbus Circle, thanks to the A & D express trains!

While we hope to have bigger announcements this year, we feel truly blessed as we are today, and thankful for our family, friends and wonderful band members. We have already had our first houseguests during Thanksgiving- Megユs brother Yasushi (pastor/missionary) and his beautiful wife Tomoko (chef/food coordinator) and had very special times together. We hope to have all of you come by (not all at once) or stay with us sometime in the near future.

We wish you happy holidays and a joyful new year!


Sam & Meg

December 12, 2007Come See Meg Okura's PACJE and Dave Douglas, Eldar, David Murray, Don Byron, Ben Alison, and many others at Knitting Factory on January 12, 2008.

PACJE and 22 other jazz groups will be featured in The 2008 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST during the Arts Presenters (APAP) conference. Over 5000 arts professionals will be in New York City for the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference from January 11-14. As there will be hundreds of showcases scheduled throughout the weekend around the city both at the Hilton Hotel and in alternative venues, the Knitting Factory offers APAP conference attendees, and the general public, the opportunity to experience the best of today's new live jazz and experimental music in a club venue setting.

The 2008 festival will include Dave Douglas, Don Byron, David Murray and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

The Knitting Factory welcomes all Arts Presenter conference badge-holders to RSVP and reserve their Full-Club Pass to the 2008 NYC WINTER JAZZFEST on January 12th, by emailing rsvp@winterjazzfest.com. Only 2008 APAP Conference attendees are able to RSVP. Tickets / Full-Club Passes are available to the General Public for $25 at www.knittingfactory.com. For more information spend time at www.winterjazzfest.com

December 05, 2007Meg Returns To Cirque du Soleil This Winter!

In the spring & summer of 2004, Meg was the featured violinist in Cirque du Soleil’s “VAREKAI" touring U.S. cities. She then returned to New York to marry her beloved husband and great soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome in September of 2004. This winter, Cirque du Soleil’s WINTUK opened in November without live musicians. Few weeks after its opening, Cirque du Soleil called Meg for the possibility of re-joining the Cirque family again to play the violin for WINTUK, and she agreed to play just 16 shows this winter.

July 13, 2007Pharaoh's Daughter Openning For BORAT's Brother's Band This Saturday

Pharaoh's Daughter is returning to Highline Ballroom this Saturday to open for Erran Baron Cohen's ZOHAR - a band led by Sasha Cohen's (Borat, Ali G) brother who wrote the score for the film "Borat."

Pharaoh's Daughter feat: Basya Schechter, Daphna Mor, Meg Okura, Jason Lindner, Shanir Blumenkrantz, Rich Stein, and Yuval Lion.

April 18, 2007Meg's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble Featured on "Meet The Composer"

Meg's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is now featured on the "Meet The Composer" website. The ensemble has recieved "Creative Connections" grant from the organization for presenting compositions by Meg, and two of her colleagues, composer/pianist Mamiko Kitaura and composer/soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome on April 23 in Lower Manhattan. The three composers will be available for Q & A following the performance.

April 23, 2007
1:00 pm
Saint Paul's Chapel in Tribeca
(Presented by Trinity Concerts)

Meg Okura (violin & erhu)
Jun Kubo (flute & shinobue)
Sam Newsome (soprano saxophone)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Jennifer Vincent (cello)
Rich Stein (percussion)

For more information, please visit:trinitywallstreet.org/calendar

April 16, 2007PACJE Open Rehearsal on April 16! (Free)

Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is inviting you to join us for our special open rehearsal, sponsored by the Meet The Composer “Creative Connections" grant. The ensemble will be going over some of the latest original works to be performed at Saint Paul’s Chapel in Tribeca on April 23. Great oportunity to come ask any questions to each player & three of the composers.

April 16, 2007
7:30pm 9:00pm
H-106 at the Long Island University Brooklyn Campus
(FREE)


Meg Okura (erhu)
Jun Kubo (flute)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Jennifer Vincent (cello)
Rich Stein (percussion)

Repertoire: Afrasia, 3-3-7, Fly High, Requiem, Dance at the Palace, and more

April 03, 2007Free Concert on April 23 at Saint Paul's Chapel

Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is appearing in Tribeca this month. They will perform for Trinity Church's daytime concert series called "Concerts at One,"featuring Meg Okura, Jun Kubo, Mamiko Kitaura, Jennifer Vincent, Rich Stein, and Sam Newsome. Compositions by Okura, Kitaura and Newsome.
*This concert is partially sponsored by "Creative Connections" grant from Meet The Artist organization.

March 07, 2007Please Join Us for an Evening of Music and Sake/Wine in Morningside Heights

Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is making its Morningside Heights debut this month at Parish Hall on 114th street and Broadway. The door will open at 7:00pm for sake and wine, and we will start our performance at 8:00pm. Two sets.

Tickets are now available for $9.00. ($12 at the door)

March 30th, 2007
7:00 pm Door
8:00 pm Performance

Meg Okura (erhu & violin)
Jun Kubo (flute & shinobue)
Mamiko Kitaura (piano)
Greg Heffernan (cello)
Rich Stein (percussion)

February 17, 2007Happy Chinese New Years!

This year is the year of pig, and this happens in a cycle of every twelve years. Some jazz musicians who were born in the year of pig are: Milt Jackson, Thad Jones, Elvin Jones, Antonio Sanchez, Paul Chambers, Chris Potter, and Aaron Parks.

February 16, 2007The Shagg’s Cover Band This Saturday!

MY BAND FOOT FOOT: Shaggs Revue
The Music of the Shaggs
(Our first gig!)

Saturday, February 17
9 & 10:30pm
Cornelia Street Café
29 Cornelia Street
New York, NY
http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com
212-989-9319
$10 cover

John McNeil – trumpet, arranger, etc.
JC Sanford – trombone, arranger, etc.
Andrew Green – guitar, arranger, etc.
Meg Okura – violin, etc.
Ben Rubin – bass, etc.
Ted Poor – drums, etc.

Check out our new MySpace site:
http://www.myspace.com/mybandfootfootshaggsrevue


Previewed on the New York Times, “My Band Foot Foot" is a group that reinterprets the music of The Shaggs, a self-taught family "rock" band from the late 60's which has become a cult fascination. Rather than attempt to imitate The Shaggs, My Band Foot Foot has drawn on their original tunes as inspiration and arranged them in a wide variety of musical genres and settings, including jazz, blues, musical theatre, chamber music, rock, gospel, and more. THIS IS NOT REALLY A JAZZ GIG. We’d be willing to bet that it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever experienced. Be a part of this long-awaited debut performance! Then you can tell your grandchildren you were there when it all went down.

If you aren’t familiar with The Shaggs, we recommend that you check out these two web sites before hand for some background info:

http://www.shaggs.com/

http://www.theshaggsonline.com/


(Of course, as always, please let us know if you want off of this list. Who’s it gonna hurt, really?)


“I’m so happy when you’re near; I’m so sad when you’re away . . ."

-- Dot Wiggin

January 30, 2007My Band Foot Foot - Shaggs Reveu

Meg is in a band called "My Band Foot Foot" with great New York musicians. My Band Foot Foot reinterprets the music of The Shaggs, a self-taught family "rock" band from the late 60's that has become a cult fascination. If you aren't familiar with their staggering work/history, shame on you. It's the most "ORIGINAL" sound you will ever hear!

Rather than attempt to imitate the Shaggs, My Band Foot Foot has drawn on their original tunes as inspiration and arranged them in a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, blues, musical theatre, chamber music, rock, gospel, and more.

JC Sanford - trombone/arranger

Andrew Green - guitar/arranger

John McNeil - trumpet/arranger

Meg Okura - violin

Ben Rubin - bass

Ted Poor - drums

Allison Miller - drums
http://www.myspace.com/mybandfootfootshaggsrevue

January 13, 2007Michael Brecker Dies

One of the greatest tenor saxophonists in the history and a friend, Michael Brecker died Saturday morning. He had touched millions of people through his music, and he will be missed devastatingly. He was kind, thoughtful, and never jive. He is one of the biggest influences as a musician, and massive inspiration in my life, and he will continue to be so as long as I live.

January 09, 2007Meg's Picks for This Year's IAJE Conference in NYC

It’s that time of the year again, the IAJE (International Association of Jazz Education), or J.IV.E. as some call it, conference will take place this week in New York City. Every year, I try to get in somehow. I would do whatever it takes for me whether playing a reading session or playing performing free. This year is very special for me because my beloved husband & a great musician, Sam Newsome will be tending a booth for the Long Island University – Brooklyn Campus where he is the new assistant professor.

Here are My Picks

January 10th
7:00 p.m.
One For All
Saxophone. Eric Alexander; Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Jim Rotondi; Trombone: Steve Davis; Piano: David Hazeltine; Bass: Peter Washington; Drums: Joe Farnsworth

*I am a fan of Eric Alexander. Someday, I want to be able to play like him…

January 11th
4:00 p.m.
Avishai Cohen Group
Leader/Trumpet: Avishai Cohen; Guitar: Lionel Loueke; Bass: Joe Martin; Drums: Eric McPherson; Percussion: Daniel Freedman.

*These are some of my friends and imaginative young musicians. By the way, Aishai & his wife just had a baby.

Januray 12th
6:00
Peter Apfelbaum & the New York Hieroglyphics. Leader/Saxophone/Piano/Percussion: Peter Apfelbaum; Voice: Abdoulaye Diabate; Violin: Charlie Burnham; Woodwinds: Jessica Jones, Tony Jones, Norbert Stachel; Trumpet/Reeds: Peck Allmond; Trombone: Josh Roseman; Guitar: David Phelps; Guitar/Percussion: Viva DeConcini; Bass: Patrice Blanchard; Drums: Justin Brown.

OR

Jazz in My Space: Online Community–Building. New media experts will join with artists in a discussion of the ways musicians are embracing new media paradigms and online social networks such as MySpace, Last.fm, and MOG, which brings fans together, create greater consciousness among non-jazz audiences, and bridge the gaps between disparate jazz communities across the globe. Moderator: Michael Ricci (AllAboutJazz.com); Panelists: Michael Goldberg (MOG.com), Chris Lewis (JazzTimes.com), Brian Lynch, Lonnie Plaxico, Vinson Valega.

*I have to ask one question. “How used ful are these stripper –friends of yours on MySpace?"

7:00p.m.
Dave Liebman Group. Leader/Saxophone: David Liebman; Guitar: Vic Juris; Bass: Tony Marino; Drums: Marko Marcinko

*I am a Dave Liebman fan. Someday, I want to be able to play like him- but I know it’s impossible.

OR

Luis Perdomo Trio. Leader/Piano: Luis Perdomo; Bass: Hans Slawischnig; Drums: Eric McPherson

8:00p.m.
NEA Jazz Masters Awards Concert
Honoring Toshiko Akiyoshi, Curtis Fuller, Ramsey Lewis, Dan Morgenstern, Jimmy Scott, Frank Wess, Phil Woods
A.B. Spellman and Dana Gioia


The Dizzy GillespieTM All–Star Big Band under the direction of Slide Hampton. Musical Director/Trombone: Slide Hampton; Special Guest/Trumpet: Roy Hargrove; Voice: Roberta Gambarini, Nancy Wilson; Saxophone/Flute/Voice: James Moody; Woodwinds: Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Gary Smulyan, Mark Gross; Trumpets: Randy Brecker, Greg Gisbert, Frank Greene, Claudio Roditi; Trombones: Jay Ashby, Steve Davis, Jason Jackson, Douglas Purviance; Piano: Eric Ginnison; Guitar: Marty Ashby; Bass/Executive Director: John Lee; Drums: Dennis Mackrel; Congas & Percussion: Duke Lee.

You need to come early for this one in order to get in.


January 13th

11:00a.m.
Western Michigan University Jazz Octet with Stefon Harris, Fred Hersch, and Billy Hart, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Director: Scott Cowan. Guest Artists: Stefon Harris, Fred Hersch, Billy Hart.

8:00p.m.
Evening Concerts
"French Quarter"
Jean-David Levitte, United States Ambassador of France, host.

Heritage for Tomorrow
National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris, France.
Special Guest: Michel Legrand. Director: Riccardo Del Fra.

Richard Galliano Trio.
Leader/Accordion: Richard Galliano; Bass: George Marz; Drums: Clarence Penn.

Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra - Not In Our Name.
Leader/Bass: Charlie Haden; Saxophones: Chris Cheek, Tony Malaby, Miguel Zenon; Trumpets: Seneca Black, Michael Rodriguez; Trombones: Curtis Fowlkes; French Horn: Vincent Chancey; Tuba: Joe Daley; Piano: Gil Goldstein; Guitar: Steve Cardenas; Drums: Matt Wilson.

French Elite All Stars.
Violin: Didier Lockwood; Harmonica: Oliver Ker Ourio; Guitar: Sylvain Luc; Bass: Remi Vignolo; Drums: Andre Cecarelli.

*I have to attend this. I met Didier Lockwood in Paris. Lockwood has a great jazz school where his friends teach.

December 25, 2006Holiday Greetings from Meg & Sam

Dear Family & Friends,
December 15, 2006

Now that I’ve just completed my first semester at Long Island University as the new assistant professor of jazz studies, I can now enjoy this holiday season by getting back to my “former" jazz musician routine: practicing all day, watching several hours of TV, and sleeping until noon. OK, 1 P.M.
My lovely wife Meg is really in holiday spirits this year. Just the other day, she practiced “The Christmas Song" through the cycle of 4ths, re-harmonized it using “Coltrane" changes, and went into 11/8 on the bridge. Meg is extremely excited that I now have my own office at LIU, but I did have to explain to her that even though I plan to store all of my books and instruments there, it’s not really appropriate for me to bring over my futon and sleep there at night. People have seen me move so much of my stuff out of our apartment, divorce lawyers are sending me Christmas cards. But don’t worry, we’re doing great. Actually, it’s almost like we are back at the dating stage; I see her at least once a week, and sometimes twice, if I attend one of her gigs.
But all kidding aside, we have both been extremely blessed this year. Thank you for your prayers and support! Listed below are a few of the many great things we have enjoyed in 2006.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sam and Meg


Sam & Meg’s Blessings of the 2006

#10. Sam received the prestigious NYSCA award to write a new work for solo saxophone inspired by the lives of MLK, Malcolm and Mandela.
#9. Meg was awarded a few grants this year, including the prestigious American Composers Forum / Jerome Composers Commissioning Program (JCCP) to compose a new work for her group to be premiered in New York during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
#8. Sam completed his debut solo soprano saxophone recording
#7. Meg’s new band Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble released a self-titled debut album, received critical acclaim, and was the finalist in the Independent Musicians Awards. She also received a grant from the Urban Artists Initiative to record her new compositions.
#6. Sam received a grant from the Meet The Composer organization to travel to Romania to perform some of his new works combining American jazz and Romanian folk music.
#5. Meg was on the road, including a European tour with Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet.
#4. Sam was accepted into the Masters program at SUNY Purchase College.
#3. Sam held his second community-based festival, “Next Door Jazz Festival" at St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant Program.
#2. Sam will be featured in the Brooklyn Arts Council newsletter for the month of January 2007.
#1 . Meg survived a two-week residency in Quad City, Iowa, performed at concert halls, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, nursing homes, and a prison. She violated the dress code at the prison and had to wear the prison guard’s sweatshirt for her performance

November 30, 2006Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble performs at the World AIDS Day Womens Event in New York City

December 1st is WORLD AIDS DAY! Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is performing at the Tavern on the Green today for a women's event sponsored by the World Vision. The band will feature Jun Kubo on flute, Jennifer Vincent on cello, Mamiko Kitaura on piano, Shane Shanagan on percussion, and Meg Okura on violin & erhu.
DId you know that HIV and AIDS orphans 6,000 children a day in Africa? If you would like to test your knowledge on AIDS, please take the award winning "AIDS test"- and interactive online program designed by World Vision.

November 29, 2006Pharaoh's Daughter Performs at Joe's Pub Tonight!

Meg is playing erhu & violin and singing a bit of Hebrew with Pharaoh's Daughter at Joee's Pub tonight at 7pm!!

Basya Schechter (Vocal & Oud)
Daphna Mor (recorders, flutes & vocals)
Meg Okura (violin, erhu & a little vocals)
Jason Lindner (keys)
Uri Sharlin (accordion)
Mathias Kunzli (percussion)
Yuval Lion (drums)
Shanir Blumenkranz (bass)

plus special guests!

November 14, 2006Meg Okura Tours with Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet

Meg is currently on the road with Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet, performing Swallow’s compositions arranged by Ohad Talmor, the mastermind of this project. The members of the ensemble are Russ Johnson, Jacob Garchick, Michael McGinnis, Ohad Talmor, Steve Swallow and Meg Okura. The record “The Bum's Tale" is available on the Palmetto Records.

November 03, 2006Meg Okura Receives American Composers Forum Jerome Composers Commissioning Program

Meg Okura was awared the prestigeous 2006 Jerome Foundation / American Composers Forum Commissioning Program. She will premiere her new composition for the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble in the spring of 2008.

November 03, 2006Independent Music Awards Announces This Year's Finalists! - Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble

Meg Okura's Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble's self-titled debut album was selected as one of the finalists in the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards "ALBUM" competition. It is an international competition and this year's judges include Terence Blanchard, Paquito D'Rivera, Joe Perry, Jonatha Brook, Bill Wyman, Norah Jones and others.

October 18, 2006Meg Okura Tours Europe with Quinteto Roberto Rodriguez This Fall

Meg is now off to a short tour of Europe with a Cuban-Jewish band lead by a Cuban drummer/percussionist Roberto Rodriguez. The band is now a quintet instead of a septet, which was the original instrumentation when the band first started touring in 2001. The quintet features astonishing new talents such as clarinetist Gilad Harel and accordionist Uri Sharlin, both from Israel. Joined by bass player Bernie Minoso who has worked with Tito Puente, the Quinteto Roberto Rodriguez will be performing in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, and France.

Even though Meg is really looking forward to performing with this great new band, the highlight of the tour for Meg is not the concerts, but rather to reunite with her friend from Japan Yoko Kanamaru, whom Meg has known since they were both five years old. Yoko Kanamaru now is a world-renowned violist who plays in the Concertgebouw orchestra in Amsterdam. The two haven’s seen each other since 1992!

Meg is also looking forward to having several days off in Paris where she will be staying with her jazz violin student Reina. They are planing to visit Didier Lockwood's school and jazz clubs in Paris.

June 23, 2006Meg Okura's CD Now Available @ iTunes Music Store

Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is now available at iTunes music store as well as many other digital distribution sites. $0.99 per tune, the whole album just for $7.92!! I hope you will enjoy the music…






All About Jazz
…elegantly intertwine(s) elements of classical, jazz and world folk into a new sound. … they do so by presenting precisely played ethnically inspired original compositions in an exciting modern jazz context.

complete review:www.alaboutjazz.com



Chris Ruel’s Instrumental Music Reviews
… a phenomenal new album that showcases her stunning compositional skills that integrate stylistic elements from multiple genres of music within individual arrangements. ….simply astounding.

track by track review:www.chrisruel.com



Boudica's Music Reviews
…very original and fresh. It crosses between classical and jazz. It is relaxing, it is invigorating. It never disappoints; rather it draws your attention throughout the entire production. The compositions are complex, the skill of the musicians is without question and the quality does not hint at all of it’s independent production.

track by track review: www.zodiacbistro.com




Customer Reviews:

Original and Powerful and Very Enjoyable
www.epinions.com


Absolutely Phenomenal
www.CDBaby.com


May 23, 2006Long Island University Elects Saxophonist Sam Newsome As The New Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies.

Saxophonist Sam Newsome was chosen to be the new assistant professor in jazz studies at LIU yesterday, after having taught as an adjunct professor for the past two years.

Originally from Hampton, Virginia, Mr. Newsome studied jazz composition and arranging at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating in 1988, he moved to New York City where he soon caught the eye of trumpeter Terrance Blanchard with whom he toured and recorded for the next five years as a “young lion." Since then, Mr. Newsome has recorded seven albums as a leader, including critically acclaimed world jazz recording “Sam Newsome & Global Unity" on Colombia/SONY Records. Mr. Newsome has received numerous grants and awards including Jerome Composers Commissioning Fund, CEC Artslink, and was chosen as the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Ambassador by the State Department and toured all over Africa in 2002. As the founder and producer of the Next Door Jazz Festival, Mr. Newsome has also received Brooklyn Arts Council’s Community Arts Regrant Award.

Mr. Newsome currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife of nearly two years, jazz violinist/composer Meg Okura.

April 02, 2006Meg Okura Receives Honourable Mention from the International Songwriting Competition

On April 1, 2006, ISC announced the winners of the 2005 competition. Meg Okura’s composition “Creation" received Honorable Mention. ISC received almost 15,000 entries from 82 countries throughout the world. Thank you for your support!

March 31, 2006Independent Artists Beware! Warnings on SonicBids.com

SonicBids.com is an online service for independent artists to send EPK (Electronic Press Kit) to hundreds of nationwide and international events online. A few days ago, I was searching for music festivals online and encountered one music festival site that asked the artists to submit their EPK’s via sonicbids.com. So I decided to investigate this whole process. I found out that they have 65,000 “hottest artists" who are members. So here are some facts I discovered about SonicBids.com.
65.000 of their members pay $49.95 a year for their basic service, which includes several pictures and sound clips, and a bio. $52 dollars more a year for a video clip & a PDF file (which most musicians already have on their websites.). But listen to this. When you actually want to contact a festival, $10 to $50 fee will apply for each submission.
This, I definitely have a problem with!!!! FIRST, if a promoter gets paid to receive submissions, there is a danger for promoters to use this system merely as means to make quick money. Who knows if they even look at your EPK since they have already been paid for just reveiving the submissions. SECOND, how is anybody really saving money? Artists can contact festivals directly via e-mails and this cost the artists nothing. Festivals can then review your website if they are interested in booking your band. THIRD, this is a lot of money. Let’s say only 1.5% of the 65,000 members decided to submit their EPK to a festival, which accepts 8 artists. Say the fee was $20. So artists would collectively spend about $20,000 for their submissions to this one festival. 8 artists will the gig and get their fees back ($20 fee times 8 is $160.) $20,000 - $160 = $19,840 ,of artists’ submission fee had just become PROFIT for SonicBids.com and the presenter. They have 16 event-submission deadlines today alone (March 31, 2006). You do the math.
My investigation didn’t just end there. I wanted to find out what artists actually get from this service. So I went to the "Most Booked Artists" site. The most booked band happened to be a band in which a colleague of mine plays in. He is a fantastic musician and I have no problem with their band being the most booked band. But I have a hard time believing Sonicbids being responsible for booking any of those gigs on their schedule. Because out of 10 different venues they are performing, six of which are in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan, two in Philadelphia and one in New Jersey. I just think they are too local and mostly not profitable for artists. I have performed at some of these venues (restaurants & bars) and know that these are either “door gig" or “pass around the hat" gigs. But I suggest that we all go hear their band just because they are great musicians!
They also have “The Top Viewed EPK’s." I went to the artist’s calendar page. It says “There are no upcoming dates at this time."

In order for every artist on SonicBids.com to get 10 gigs, there needs to be 650,000 gigs out there EXCLUSIVELY for the artists on SonicBids.com. Even though most festivals like to book big stars who don't use SonicBids.com, I still believe there are many gigs that independent artists can book. I just don't believe there are THAT MANY gigs.....

March 07, 2006CDBaby Picks Meg's New CD!

CDbaby picked Meg's New CD "Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble" as the Editor's Picks under Jazz: World Fusion together with our friend Omar Avital.

CD is available also at TowerRecords.com. Please visit both sites to write listen & your own reviews!

January 27, 2006Words of Wisdom from George W. Bush


"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
- George W. Bush

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
- George W. Bush

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
- George W. Bush

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
- George W. Bush

"The future will be better tomorrow."
- George W. Bush

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world."
- George W. Bush

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
- George W. Bush

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe, we are a part of Europe."
- George W. Bush


"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
- George W. Bush

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
- George W. Bush


"For NASA, space is still a high priority."

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
- George W. Bush

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
- George W. Bush

"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
George W. Bush

January 21, 2006CHECK OUT THE CD NOW! (link to CafePress)

You can listen and see the artworks for Meg's New CD on this site!

January 11, 2006Far-East and Middle-East Meet in the East Village

Friday, February 10, 2006 at 8:00 p.m., Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, a New York based all-female band, and Cardamon Quartet, a New York based Middle Eastern jazz ensemble, will perform at the Stone in New York City.

The evening will start with the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, featuring Meg Okura on violin, YUKARI on flute, Megumi Yonezawa on piano, and Jennifer Vincent on cello. The ensemble will perform original works by Meg Okura, including the premiere of her new composition “Afrasia", blending Far-East tonalities with avant-garde jazz and African rhythms. Joining the group will be percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and Erhu player Suzanne Shu from Mainland China.

At 10:00 p.m., Cardamon Quartet, featuring Uri Sharlin on piano and accordion, Haral Shachal on reeds, Jennifer Vincent on cello and bass, and Dan Aran on drums, will play Uri Sharlin’s original music as well as arrangements of Israeli folk songs and classical Arabic pieces. The band will also have surprise guest musicians from different parts of the Middle-East.

The Stone is located at the corner of Avenue C and 2nd street, and is a not-for-profit performance space founded by John Zorn in 2005. Admission is $10 for each set; students 13 to 19 $5, children under 12 free. 100% of the nightly revenue will go directly to the musicians. Curator of the month of February is Basya Schechter from Pharaoh’s Daughter. For further information about the event, please visit www.thestonenyc.com

For music samples and more information on the bands, please visit www.panasianchamberjazzensemble.com., and www.cardamonquartet.com.

December 27, 2005Christmas- When Did it Become a Political Issue?

Growing up in Japan, I used to imagine how joyful Christmas might be in America, where people actually knew the meaning of Christmas. I remember asking my mom why we didn’t do any Christmassy stuff at home, such as the Christmas tree, the gifts, and the cake. Her answer was that those things were for secular people and that we celebrated enough Christmas at church. So while non-Christian kids were getting Christmas gifts, me and my siblings didn’t get anything for Christmas.

By the time I was in high school, there was a new Christmas trend (by now it is a tradition), among teen-agers and young adults that is to reserve a hotel room and spend a romantic night with someone special OR just about anyone. I remember feeling disgusted every year during Christmas season because that’s what people talked about. It simply became a "Sex holiday."

Since I moved the U.S. thirteen years ago, I had never had a family to visit until last year. (I got married last year and we got to visit the in-laws for Christmas.) None of my ex-boyfriends ever took me to their families’ for Christmas or Hanukkah. Some even had mentioned that it was because of my race!! So I had always been lonely, and couldn’t really enjoy the Christmas season.

And now, Christmas is a center of America’s controversy and a political issue. People are debating and suing each other over “holiday trees." I highly doubt the basis of the debate since there is nothing “Christian" about the Christmas trees since it originally came from a pagan practice. There is no mention of a Christmas tree in the bible, yet some people want to make it into a political agenda. And now the media is calling this “A WAR ON CHRISTMAS."

I just think there are other far more important things to worry about around us. There are many people in poverty even in the U.S. Why do we spend so much time talking about “decorations"? I think it’s time for Americans to stop fighting like little kids and start caring about issues that are more serious and urgent. And for once, will you let me experience peaceful and joyful Christmas in America? And I just have one thing to say to the Japanese. “Get your mind out of the gutter."

December 21, 2005Holiday Greetings from Meg

This year has been one of the most blessed year in my life. I would like to thank my friends and colleagues for your friendship as well as great musicianship. You guys have been my inspiration! I would like to first thank the members of my new group Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble: Megumi Yonezawa, Yukari, and Jennifer Vincent. I would also like to thank Basya Schechter for so many wonderful opportunities to travel the world, chances to experience and express music, and to share laughs and tears. I would like to thank my family members and extended family members here in the US and overseas for their love and acceptance. I would like to thank my husband Sam Newsome for his musical inspiration, support, kindness, generosity and support. I don't know how I can possiblly live without you ever again at this point! Thanks everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Meg

Meg's Top Ten Blessing of 2005

January- performing with Michael Brecker Quindectet, featured as a soloist at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall
March- receiving a prize and premiere performance from the American University Saxophone Symposium Composition
April- debut of “Project OKURA" featuring Jason Lindner at the Europa Club.
Summer- Meg’s student Reina came to NY from Paris to study jazz violin with her
August- Fist vacation with my husband!
September- SNL Season Premiere with Kanye West
September- 1st Wedding Anniversary
September- Tour with Steve Swallow
October- debut and premiere of Meg’s new born baby Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
November- Meg Okura Quartet performed at the Novi Sad Jazz festival

December 19, 2005Just Another Story About Creative Musicians Getting Exploited

Over the course of my career as a professional musician, I have often heard about how musicians get taken advantage of especially those who have created intellectual properties and do not get “credits" or “compensation" for. The story I am going to share today is just one of many horror stories that many musicians encounter.

Last summer, I was asked to play on a Christmas CD called “Christmas of Peace" to benefit a multi-million dollar church in New York. I like doing things for “mitzvah" and I was happy to accept the job, since it was an “improvising solo" on a tune that just have two vocalists and a piano- my improvised violin would be an integral part of the tune. I went in and had come up with some nice melodies and accompaniment parts and they told me they loved it. The record came out, and they sent me one free copy. The track sounded pretty nice.

Yesterday, my husband and I attended one of their four church services. The musicians were rehearsing as we had walked in, and I heard a violin on a tune that sounded familiar. Then, I heard the exact melodies and some of my licks that I had come up with during the session, and ended up on the track on “Christmas of Peace" CD, played by a classical violinist with lots of vibrato. It was the exact transcription of my solos, melodies and accompaniment lines.

I looked everywhere on the program. They listed all of the musicians’ names, complete lyrics, but I didn’t find my name anywhere. So the service had started, I was feeling extremely agitated, angry and sad, all of these emotions. When it came time for them to perform this tune, my heart was pounding. The classical violinist played once again the same exact lines from the written out part, which they had just rehearsed.

The problem is, number one, They never asked me for permission for them to transcribe and print out my intellectual property (improvised solos and parts that I had come up with) so they can use it for performances in front of thousands of people. Number two, I did not get a credit as an arranger. .Number three, I didn’t get paid to do this recording. Not even a penny. Number four, I didn’t have a gig that day and could have used one, since I am not rich. I am a composer and a jazz violinist. I don’t mind donating my time for churches at all. But they could have at least asked me to play at the church. If I then couldn’t do the gig and they had asked me for permission to use my solos, I would have been completely flattered.

My philosophy in working as a musician in New York had been “Go extra miles to please your client. Go above and Beyond." And it was working pretty well until last night. I have never felt so degraded before. I don’t know what to make of this. Can someone help?

Anonymous

December 06, 2005Lyric Chamber Jazz Series presents Sirius String Quartet at Scandinavia House

Sirius String Quartet (Meg Okura, Gregor Huebner, Ron Lawrence, & Dave Eggar), known as an avant-garde classical string quartet, performed for the Lyric Chamber Music Society’s “Chamzz Cutting Edge" series December 5, together with bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann, and bassist John Patitucci. The performance included works by Sirius String Quartet's violinist Gregor Huebner, a four movement concert piece "Zoom In" by Daniel Schnyder, as well as compositions by John Patitucci. The word “Chamzz" is short for chamber jazz, though there was very little element of jazz. There were some improvisation by the quartet and Patitucci, however, the program focused more on compositions that incorporated non-Western influences. The series will present Paquito d’Rivera May 25, 2006.

November 26, 2005Meg Okura Plays Jazz With Eric Niceberg Trio in Novi Sad

Meg Okura performed at the Cultural Center of Novi Sad last night, closing the third day of the Novi Sad Jazz Festival. Eric Niceberg Trio featured Eliot Zigmund on drums and Thomas Bramarie on bass.

November 06, 2005Meg Okura will appear "NOVI SAD JAZZ FESTIVAL" this month!

Meg will be appearing with her jazz quartet in Novi Sad Jazz Festival in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia on November 25. She will be playing with Eric Niceburg (piano), Thomas Bramarie (bass), and Elliot Zigmund (drums).


November 03, 2005Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble performs at Makor on Nov. 3

Meg Okura's "Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble" is doing a double bill with Cardamon Quartet.

Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble is a female jazz ensemble playing original music with exotic sounds and rhythms, featuring:

Meg Okura (violin)
Yukari (flute)
Nesrine Balbeisi(viola)
Jennifer Vincnet (cello)
Megumi Yonezawa (piano)

sepcial guest Shane Shanahan, percussionist from Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Project.

October 11, 2005Meg Okura touring with Steve Swallow this month!

Meg is touring with the electric bass master Steve Swallow this month.

Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet
L'histoire du Clochard

Steve Swallow (bass)
Ohad Talmor (tenor sax)
Russ Johnson (trumpet)
Meg Okura (violin)
Greg Tardy (clarinet)
Jacob Garchik (trombone)