BOHP_2007-09-29_TAkiyoshi Chapter 1
FB: Good morning once again. This is Fred Bouchard reporting for the Berklee Oral History Project and this is the occasion of the Bean Town Jazz Festival in September 2007. And with us today is one of the performers of the festival, Ms. Toshiko Akiyoshi, who is is one of the uh, is the first Asian student at Berklee in '56. She was the first Japanese recording artist ever in the U.S. thanks to Norman Granz of Verve Records and a hearty recommendation from Oscar Peterson. That was 1953. Um, she's been inducted into the jazz hall of fame in 1999. Won the New York City Liberty Award in 1986. Founded a famous big band in 1973 and was nominated 14 times for GRAMMYS. And uh received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in 2000. Thank you for being with us today, Toshiko. We're really happy to have you here. TA: Thank you very much. Can I audit one more, can i blow my own horn? FB: Please! TA: I was, uh, awarded, uh, awarded the Jazz Master Fellowship of 2007. FB: I'm sorry TA: It's no, not a toy. It's the highest honor that I could possibly get. FB: That's that's really great. Who who were your co-nominees for that year? TA: Uh, Phil Woods. Uh, Randy uh uh uh ... the pianist uh oh der. Um, I can't. And also the scholar uh that he teaches at the uh uh, oh boy. I see the face and then uh, he's a scholar, historian. FB: Gary Giddins? uh, Dan Morganstern. TA: yes, Dan Morganstern. uh, there was a Curtis (Fleur). And there's a .. I didn't know. The singer is a elderly singer. He he was in a wheelchair. He's the one who for some reason the voice had never has changed. FB: Ernie Andrews? TA: No, something Smith, could be. FB: oh, um yeah yeah. uh uh yeah. The little guy. Jimmy ... Jimmy Scott. TA: yeah, Jimmy Scott. That's it. Uh, people like that. FB: yeah, wonderful. Um, thanks for reminding me. Um, you're um uh ... Your arrival at Berklee was quite a splash because it was so unique. The school was very young. It was still over on Newbury street there were only a few hundred students. TA: Yes. 300 maybe 400. FB: And here comes this girl who's from Mantura, Japan, who's a wizard at the keyboard. What was it like for you arriving in Boston. TA: Well, I was very excited so I don't quite remember. It was getting to Logan Airport at 2 in the morning. I remember that's a prepare?? time So stop here stop there stop there and finally got to Logan Airport at 2 in the morning. And found out of the school. Mr. Lawrence Berk. There was a publicity man for the school as well as a Newport festival. Harry ??? and Joe ??? who was at that time at the Newport festivals the three of them and 2 in the morn...I was put into a hotel. Bradford hotel. Then, I could sleep maybe til about 5 in the morning. I thought it was maybe because it was exciting and cars going by. I overslept and the telephone rang and reminded me that I have to come to school. And now I think about it it was like a jet lag. It never occurred to me then. So that was my very first day at the school. And I wasn't quite... You know I understood what people were saying, but I really couldn't speak that well. But I thought, it 's funny though because the school wanted more or less have me as a sort of publicity for the school. So that was one of the reasons I was here. But, I had an interview on the radio stationand so on blah blah blah. Now three years later I was moved to New York and one I don't quite remember maybe a couple years later I was played at the Storyville in Boston at that time ??? they had a club there. and I had interview on the radio station, the man said do you remember this room? And I said no. When you first came here, your first interview was in this room and I was the interviewer. And your English became so wonderfully well it's improved so much. On the tape we couldn't understand what you were saying. We put the tape slower faster, but we couldn't use the tape because we didn't know what you were saying." And I was sort of ??? FB: Who is that guy? TA: I don't know an interviewer. yes.