ERIKA MATSUO Birthday Bash at Jazz at Kitano

ERIKA MATSUO Birthday Bash

Wednesday, January 29 at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Jazz at Kitano – 66 Park Avenue (at E. 38th Street)

Cover: $18 with a $20 minimum for food and beverage

Jazz at Kitano hosts New York-based Japanese jazz singer Erika Matsuo for two sets celebrating the artist’s birthday.

About Erika Matsuo

Fukuoka native Erika Matsuo was a protégé of the great Sheila Jordan and studied classical piano as a child. While in her late teens, Matsuo joined an all-girl rock group, the Tear Drops, which won first prize in the Yamaha Teen Music Festival in May 1994.

Coming to New York

A chance meeting with jazz pianist Yusuke Hirado led to Matsuo an invitation to record and perform in New York as lead singer of his band. It was the beginning of her love affair with New York. Matsuo soon relocated, studying for a BFA in jazz voice at City College of New York and immersing herself in the city’s jazz scene, exploring everything from straight-ahead to Brazilian jazz.

After graduating from City College, where she also earned the prestigious Pro Musica award, which is given to graduating music majors for distinguished service to the cause of music at the college, Matsuo went on to win first prize in the highly prestigious Asakusa Jazz Contest in Japan and, in 2007, was featured in Coca Cola’s So-Ken-Bi Cha TV commercial, becoming one of the most recognized voices in Japan.

Based in New York, she has performed at many of the city’s top venues, including BB King, Sweet Rhythm, Jazz at Kitano, S.O.B.’s and the Blue Note, and she regularly tours Japan.


Matsuo burst onto the international jazz scene in 2010 with her self-produced album Obsession, a sensual sojourn through American, Brazilian, and original songs, which was hailed by All About Jazz as “a promising debut, beautifully produced and finely performed.” She had previously self-produced a single, “Close My Eyes,” in 2007.

She released True Colors in 2013 and Nostalgia two years later. Yusuke Hirado, the jazz pianist who set her New York career in motion, appears on Nostalgia as a special guest.

In 2017, Matsuo released Reflections, on which she performs songs written for her by Monday Michiru and Yusuke Hirado. More than 14 different musicians record with her on this album including Steve Wilson, David Gilmore, and Johnathan Blake. Last fall, Matsuo’s Kickstarter campaign raised more than $18,000 in support of her new album, Here and Now.

The Lineup for January 29:

  • Erika Matsuo – Vocals
  • Art Hirahara – Piano
  • Moto Fukushima – Bass
  • Ronen Itzik – Drums

Jazz at Kitano strongly recommends that you make a reservation, especially for the first set. To make a reservation, please call Jazz at Kitano at 212-885-7119. For more information about Jazz at Kitano, please visit The Kitano Hotel New York’s website.

JapanCultureNYC is the English-language website dedicated to all things Japanese in New York City. Discover your next favorite Japanese anything at