Since moving to the United States in 1995, Eri Yamamoto has established herself as one of jazz's most original and compelling pianists and composers. Jazz legend Herbie Hancock has said, “My hat’s off to her... already she’s found her own voice.”
During the past twenty-six years, Eri has been sharing her uniquely lyrical and evocative music with listeners in New York City, throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Africa, Jamaica, and Australia; with appearances in concerts, clubs, and major festivals.
She has a deeply empathetic rapport with her long-standing trio members, bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi. Together they have recorded several albums, with Eri’s songs portraying a wide range of her experiences - from joyful to introspective, reflecting the vibrancy of New York and exploring mysteries of nature and memory.
In 2018 Eri premiered the Goshu Ondo Suite, an extended work for chorus and her trio. The suite is based on a traditional circle dance song from Shiga, Japan, and draws on the music of many cultures, including Japanese folk music, American jazz, gospel, and blues; and even Congolese Drum rhythms. The live record has received popular and critical acclaim, receiving 4-star reviews, and being chosen among the top recordings of 2019.
Eri has also dedicated herself to the art of solo piano, moving audiences with her renditions of her own compositions and her spontaneous improvisations. Her most recent release, Live in Benicàssim, captures her solo piano concert in that picturesque Spanish town.
Eri was born in Osaka, Japan. She began playing classical piano at age three, and started composing at eight. In 1995, she visited New York for the first time, and was so inspired by a performance by pianist Tommy Flanagan that she decided to move to New York to study jazz. She entered the New School University's prestigious jazz program, where she studied with Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, and LeeAnn Ledgerwood.
While in school, Eri started playing at the Avenue B Social Club in the East Village; and in 1998 her trio began a twenty-year engagement at the historic Arthur’s Tavern in Greenwich Village.
Eri has also been collaborating with such creative and celebrated musicians as William Parker, Daniel Carter, Hamid Drake, Federico Ughi, Yves Leveille and Paul McCandless. Eri has appeared on several William Parker recordings, including a solo piano CD of his original compositions. and has performed in the U.S. and throughout the world with his groups.
In Japan, Eri received the Shiga Prefecture Artistic Award in 2018, and the Otsu City Artistic Award in 2021. She is a Steinway Piano Artist.
Finally, Eri is a gifted educator. She received her master of music in education and composition from Shiga University, Japan. She has taught private lessons and workshops to jazz musicians of all instruments from the U. S., Japan, Europe, and North Africa.