"One of the most beautiful voices coming from a human being"
- Ornette Coleman -
"A new vocal beauty unlike anything you have ever heard--where the inner
and outer universe intermingle, past and future become one... transcending genres--opera, groove, jazz, pop, contemporary, Japanese traditional."
- Sei Takekawa - (Japanese best-selling author
of "The Weathering Continent ")
Japanese born vocalist/improviser Mari Okubo is a pioneer who has created an entirely new style of singing.
Her voice has been praised by Ornette Coleman as "one of the most beautiful voices coming from a human being,"
and her forefront vocal style has received enthusiastic applause from audiences around the world
Okubo has performed with coleman in the variety of setting: as a featured singer, in "The Montreal International Jazz Festival" in Canada.2009, " The Palermo Jazz Festival" in Italy,
The Molde Jazz Festival", in Norway, 2008, in "The Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival" in New york,"The Umbria Jazz Festival" Perugia, Italy, " Ornette's Japan Tour 2006" at Orchard Hall
and Geijutsu Gekijo in Tokyo. Okubo appeared with her own band " the Evolving Cosmos" in "The JVC Jazz Festival" at Carnegie Hall as well as "The Art Project 92", International
New Music Festival in Munich, Germany.
In the year 2007 she released her first CD, "Cosmic Life," with music written and produced by Ornette Coleman. Songs (words, music, arrangements) were written especially for her
in accordance with her vocal ideas. Colman also played trumpet solo in the title song, "Cosmic Life." Okubo was joined by such superb musicians as Wallace Rony (tr), Lewis Soloff
(tr), Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass), Kenny Wessel (guitar), and Chris Walker (bass).
After receiving her B.A. in Opera and German Lied from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (the Julliard of Japan), Okubo went to Italy to study at Academia Chigiana with world
re-knowned voice teacher Maestro Giorgio Favaretto. Already in her conservatory days, She had determined to create a new art of the voice focussing on a true vocal beauty that
would reflect a sense of our contemporary time. While studying Bel canto in Italy, she encountered Ornette Coleman, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to move to
At the same time that she was studying Colman's Harmolodic music with Ornette, Okubo set about synthesizing the elements of a variety of singing styles such as opera, jazz, funk,
pop, contemporary art music and Japanese traditional music. She finally succeeded in creating a universal vocal style all her own where the vocal and instrumental relationship
equal space instantly, and word and instrumental sound create universal oneness.
Prior to her collaboration with Coleman, as a contemporary art music singer, Okubo performed with leading Japanese composer Takehisa Kosugi (Music Director of Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Akio Suzuki in the "Contemporary Music Festival" in Tokyo, with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Anthony Davis at Carnegie's Weil Recital Hall, and in the "Avant-garde Festival" produced by Charlotte Moorman.