Taeko Kunishima started playing piano at seven. Particularly taken by Mozart and Beethoven, she later studied classical piano performance at university. On hearing Miles Davis for the first time, her direction changed, leading her to explore the music of many different jazz artists, and to develop her own improvisatory technique whilst studying jazz harmony.
Since moving to England, she has continued to evolve and develop her startling, angular contemporary jazz approach, echoing Thelonius Monk and influences of her native Japan. Alongside her work with many UK jazz artists, she has also been working with musicians from many different cultures and countries, and has built up an impressive range of musical partnerships, ranging from Latin pop to electronic music and contemporary classical music. She has performed live sessions on Resonance FM radio. Resonance FM and Jazz FM have both played tracks from her albums Space To Be and Red Dragonfly.
Her debut album as bandleader was Space To Be in 2004 (33Jazz). Now she launches her latest CD, Red Dragonfly, on the 33Jazz label. Following the release of Red Dragonfly, she received favourable reviews, and the band had a warm reception at live performances, including the Isle Of Wight International Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, and the Vortex Jazz Club. In autumn 2006 she completed a UK tour with the help of Jazz Services.
Taeko has performed with Europe's leading Shakuhachi player, Clive Bell, since 2006. Their collaborations have included the London Jazz Festival, a UK tour and the National Theatre. Clive also appears on Taeko's latest CD, Red Dragonfly on the 33Jazz record label.
In January, June and July 2008 Taeko performed at several venues in Germany with American drummer David Bowler. From 1987 to 1993 David was a member of the famous Ahmad Jamal Trio. He is currently based in Hamburg, Germany.
During 2009 and 2010 Taeko played live in Germany and Japan, while continuing to compose.
In December 2015 she worked in the same studios used for Late Autumn to complete a composition process that began in 2013, playing many of the future tracks from her new album 'Iridescent Clouds' live in London during that period. The Iridescent Clouds album approach is based more on the use of acoustic instruments; traditional Japanese types such as the Tsugaru shamisen combined with an eclectic range of instruments; from tablas to Cretan pipes. The album was released in September 2016.
The musicians this time were Taeko (piano), Clive Bell (shakuhachi & various pipe instruments), Paul Moylan (double bass), Camilo Tirado (tablas & percussion) and Hibiki Ichikawa (Tsugaru shamisen ). Field recordings from Japan by Jeremy Hawkins were also mixed in by Nick Pugh, who engineered the album, with production coming from Clive Bell who carefully considered his responses to the ideas from the rest of the band.