B i o g r a p h y

     Arriving from the strong winds of Japan, one of New Orleans’ brightest stars brought her talent and an understanding of what it means to be a brilliant musician on our shores. Hitting the Crescent City, an area known around the world for its incandescent music, Keiko Komaki, could not only keep pace with the very best, she transformed the entire stage vibe where she has performed everything from the blues, funk, rock, and jazz.  She is never in doubt of who she is on the keyboards.  Known throughout the city for her punchy, shuffle style of playing, she has grown into an accomplished pianist, arranger, and composer.

 

In the beginning...

 

     As a five year old on the other side of the world from Louisiana, Keiko began her musical journey in Kagoshima where she learned classical music from her Aunt. It always seems that those who have a passion and a drive come up quickly in the ranks of what they love. Keiko was no exception. From age five on she relentlessly put her mind and her soul into her art. Soon she found herself pursuing a degree in music at Kunitachi College where she later graduated. While classically trained, she was never ruled by those restraints. It formed the foundation for what would become one funky, dynamic keyboard player who was never in doubt of what she could play.

 

Coming to America...

 

     Fortunate and talented enough to perform at venues throughout Tokyo she honed in on her fascination for New Orleans funk and jazz. She performed with a Tokyo group Chillhaze, who performed New Orleans style funk. Soon confident in what she could bring to the table, Keiko took flight to a place she had only dreamed about. She moved to New Orleans. The gutsy move proved invaluable and she immersed herself not only in the music but also in the culture of the City. It wasn’t long before Keiko was asked to join the Blues Queen of New Orleans, the late Marva Wright. Keiko had never played blues before. But on stage and off, Marva and her band leader Benny Turner, who was a brother of the late Freddie King got Keiko in the drift of the blues. While Keiko in her classical realm had the grace of an angel as she lightly touched her keys, she was hell’s holy water when she shuffled to the blues! When Marva passed away, Benny started his own band and kept Keiko on as his keyboard player. Throughout her tenure, she was making a name for herself. She was learning from the best. And every musician wanted Keiko in the mix. While from Japan, she found her groove and was a natural in all that makes New Orleans music mystical and fun.

 

     Her opportunities were many. She was soon playing with some of New Orleans’ cream of the crop. These musicians included George Porter, Johnny Vidacovich, Marc Stone, Ed Willis, Tara Alexander, Jeffery “Jellybean” Alexander, Charlie Wooton, Arséne DeLay, June Yamagishi and many, many more. Keiko was a fixture on Frenchman Street in the heart of the French Quarter where she played with the Brass-a-holics and Gary Brown. She represented New Orleans in Australia for three years in a row as a keyboardist with Vasti Jackson, Gary Brown, and Chuky C. Back home in New Orleans she then began working with renowned bass player Charlie Wooton, performing both in New Orleans, at Festivals and in Atlanta, GA. You would find her regularly at the famed Maple Leaf and other known “joints” in the funky Quarter. 

 

Featuring Keiko became illuminating. She has performed at radio station WWOZ’s Piano Night. This event plays host to the finest New Orleans Jazz Pianist who perform solo during the days of Jazz Fest. Maple Leaf also had a piano series where Keiko was elected to perform.

 

A career turning point...

 

     In 2013, Keiko met producer Mark Johnson. Mark was the main man behind the international project “Playing for Change” in New Orleans. Keiko was quickly signed to be part of the project, playing keyboards on “Better Place,” and “Down by the Riverside.” At the same time she was asked to play for the project in Los Angeles. She went on a world-wide tour with the Playing for Change (PFC) band. Keiko’s work with PFC has taken her to 20 countries in Europe, Australia, Japan, and South America. PFC also landed Keiko on some of the most prestigious stages as well that include, the United Nations, the John F. Kennedy Center, Argentina Direct TV Arena, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Byron Blues Blues Fest as well as more festivals and other venues. With PFC she shared the stage with artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Little Feats, Lee Oscar, Keb Mo, Ellis Hall, and Victor Wooton just to name a few.

 

     In 2019, PFC released a video “The Weight.” Performing in the video, Keiko joined Robbie Robertson of The Band, Ringo Starr of the Beatles, and Marcus King. The video received wonderful reviews and was hailed by magazines such as Rolling Stone.

 

     Keiko performs each year for the New Orleans based gospel band “Joyful” which has taken her to Spain, Italy, and Germany.

 

     Though she has traveled the world and hit stages that she had only dreamed about, New Orleans will always be home. This is where she is found today working on her own material. For those of who know her and love her style this is definitely great news.

Past Performances

Chile 

Santiago Nov, 2016  / FIS Festival / Playing for change

Argentina  

Buenos Aires/ Nov, 2016 / FIS Festival / Playing for change

Buenos Aires / Nov, 2015 /  Direct TV Arena / Playing for change

Brazil  

Sao Paulo/ Dec, 2016 / Bourbon Street Club / Playing for change

Curitiba / Dec, 2016 / Opera de Arame / Playing for change

Florianopolis / Dec, 2016 / Playing for change

Porto Alegre / Dec, 2016 / Playing for change

June, 2015 / 2 weeks tour / Vasti Jackson 

 

Sao Paulo / Mar, 2015 / Bourbon Street Club / Playing for change

 

Rio De Janeiro / Mar, 2015 / Hora Do Planeta Fest / Playing for change

 

Sao Paulo / Oct, 2014 / Bourbon St Club / Playing for change

 

Salvador / Oct, 2014 / Fortaleza Yate Club / Playing for change

Natal / Oct, 2014 / Teatro Riachuelo / Playing for change

Critiba / Oct, 2014 / Opera de Arame / Playing for change

Rio De Janeiro / Oct, 2014 / Fundicao Progresso / Playing for change

Belo Horizonte / Oct, 2014 / Parque da Juventude / Playing for change

Sao Paulo / Aug / 2014 / Brass a holies

 

Carribean

Guadeloupe / May, 2015 / Vasti Jackson 

 

Italy  

Suzzara / Jul,2016 / Sconfinart Festival / Playing for change

Roana di Vicenza / Jul,2016/  Roana / Playing for change

 

Pordenone / Jul, 2015 / Parco Di Villa / Playing for change

Travo Placenza / Jul, 2015 / Dal Mississippi al Po Festival /Playing for change

 

Aosta / Jul, 2015 / Aosta Soul and Blues Fest

Ravenna / Jul, 201 / Playing for change

Napoli / Jul, 2015/ Playing for change

Sardinia / Jul, 2015 / Narcao Blues Fest / Playing for change

Verese / Jul, 2015 / Black & Blue Fest / Playing for change

Trasimeno / Jul, 2015 / Trasimeno Blues / Playing for change

Livorno / Jul, 2015 / Effetto Venezia Fest  / Playing for change

Livorno / Aug, 2014 / La Bodeguita / Playing for change

L'Aquila / Aug, 2014 / Blues Sotto le Strelle / Playing for change

Umbria / Dec, 2012 / Umbria Jazz Festival / Gary Brown

 

Switzerland  

Valle Maggia / Jul,2016 / Magic Blues Festival / Playing for change

Sierra / Jul,2016 / Sierre Blues Festival / Playing for change

Glumagllo / Jul, 2015 / Vallemaggia Magic Blues Festival / Playing for change

 

Holland 

Amsterdam / Jul, 2015 / Melkweg / Playing for change

Amsterdam / Jul, 2015 / Melkweg / Playing for change

Amsteldam / Aug, 2014 / Paradiso noor / Playing for change

 

Germany

Aschaffenburh / Jul, 2014 / Colos Saal / Playing for change

Hamburg / Jul, 2014 / Knust / Playing for change

Berlin / Jul, 2014 / Lido / Playing for change

Cologne / Jul, 2014 / Playing for change

Luxembourg / Jul, 2015 / Me You Zik Would Music Fest

Luxembourg / Jul, 2015 / Me You Zik Would Music Fest

 

Poland 

Lublin / May,2016Playing for change

 

Sweden  

 May,2016 / Playing for change

 

Spain

Barcelona / Jul, 2014, 15 /Apolo Theater / Playing for change

 

Austria

 

St. Anton am Arlberg / 2017 July, Vasti Jackson

Innsbruck 

2014, 2015, 2013, 2012

New Orleans Festival

Gary Brown / Vasti  Jackson

Velden / Jul, 2015 / Bluesianna / Playing for change

Grundlesee / Jul, 2015 / Spudel & Music Fest / Playing for change

Belgium

 

Aug, 2014 / Esperanza Fest / Playing for change

Israel

Eilat/ Aug, 2015 / Red Sea Festival / Brass-a-holics

 

Lebbanon / Beruit / Jul,2016 / Downtown Beirut / Playing for change

 

Australia 

Byron Bay, Mar, 2014,2015,2016,2017 /Bayron Bay Blues Fest / Playing for change

Sydney / Mar-16 / The Basement / Playing for change

Gold Coast / Apr, 2015 / Baron Bay Blues Fest / Playing for change

Gold Coast / Apr, 2014 / Baron Bay Blues Fest / Playing for change

UK

Cornwell / April, 2014 / The Watering Hole / Playing for change

Isle of White / April, 2014 / Memorial Hall / Playing for change

London / April, 2014 / Jazz Café  / Playing for change

US 

Playing for change US Tour 2017

Los Angeles / June, 2017 / Roland Corp / Playing for change

Los Angels / June, 2017 / The Whiskey A Go-Go / Playing for change

Laytonville / June, 2017 / Kate Wolf Festival / Playing for change

San Francisco / June, 2017 / The Independent / Playing for change

Seattle / June, 2017 / Jazz Alley / Playing for change

New York / June, 2017 / Higline Ballroom / Playing for change

Playing for change US Tour 2014

Philadelphia / Jun, 2014 / World Café live / Playing for change

Laytonville / Jun, 2014 / Kete Wolf Music Fest / Playing for change

Rosenburg / July, 2014 / Half Shell / Playing for change

Seattle / July, 2014 / Jazz Alley / Playing for change

Jackson Hole / July, 2014 / Jacksonhole Live / Playing for change

Denver / July, 2014 / Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

Los Angeles  / June, 2014 / Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

Pasadena / June, 2014 / Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

Phoenix / June, 2014 / MIM / Playing for change

Santa Fe / June, 2014 /Santa fe Sol / Playing for change

Austin / June, 2014 / the Belmont / Playing for change

Arlington / June, 2014 /Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

Memphis / June, 2014 / Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

new Orleans / June, 2014 / Tipitinas /Playing for change

 

Atlanta / June, 2014  / The Variety Playhouse / Playing for change

Washington DC / June, 2014 / The Hamilton / Playing for change

Boston / June, 2014 / The Wibur / Playing for change

New York / June, 2014 / Highline Ballroom /Playing for change

San Francisco / july, 2014 / Yoshi's Jazz Club / Playing for change

Fall River / Jun, 2014 /Narrows Center / Playing for change

Bethlehem / June, 2014  /Levitt Pavillion / Playing for change

Annapolis / June, 2014 / Rams Head on Stage / Playing for change

Ann Arbor / June, 2014 / The Ark / Playing for change

Chicago / June, 2014 / Old Town School of Folk Music

St paul / June, 2014 / The O'Shaughnessy / Playing for change

 

Portland / July, 2014 / Alberta Rose theater / Playing for change

Austin / July, 2014 / the Belmont Austin / Playing for change

Washington DC / Hamilton / Playing for change, Brass-a-holics

New Orleans 

BB King Club New Orleans

 

AC Hotel

 

Ace Hotel

 

Maple Leaf

Balcony Club

Tipi Tina 

dba

Blue Nile

Maison

Funky Pirates

Yuki

French Quarter Festival 

New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival