of a Jazz Musician:
Born and raised in Japan, Kuni studied classical piano from
ages 6 to 15. He came to New York in 1974 to pursue a jazz
Lionel Hampton Band:
In 1991, Kuni was invited to be the pianist in jazz
legend Lionel Hampton's Band. Since then, he has traveled
and played mainstream jazz all over the U.S. and Europe
with this orchestra. He has been a regular performer at
the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival which is
held at Univ. of Idaho in February each year.
Jazz Clubs and Concert Halls:
Kuni has performed in several major New York jazz clubs
(Sweet Basil, Village Gate, Blue Note, Yardbird Suite and
Birdland) and New York concert halls (Avery Fisher Hall,
Carnegie Hall and Town Hall).
performing with Lionel Hampton and directing his own trio,
Kuni has played with various other talented professionals--such
as saxophonist Illinois Jacquet and vocalists Dakota Staton,
Melba Joyce and Queen Esther Marrow. He has also shared
the stage with highly esteemed musicians like Elvin Jones,
Dizzy Gillespie and Little Jimmy Scott. He was a pianist
for Duke Ellington Orchestra in the '97 Europe Tour and
the '98 Japan Tour. Kuni has been performing at Birdland
Jazz Club in NYC the every Tuesday with the Ellington Orchestra
for these past 8 years. Also Kuni is performing and touring
with the Cab Calloway Orchestra.
During the Spring of 1996, Kuni
was Music Director for "Tokyo Can Can," an Off
Broadway musical. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild
and has had bit parts in "Sabrina", "Calito's
Way", and "Year of the Dragon"
Kuni has written two jazz piano instructional books
in Japanese published by the Zen-on Music and ATN Publishing.
He is a regular contributor to the Japanese environmental
magazine “Sangyo & Kankyo”.
In 2003, Kuni and a mime performer, Ms. Haruka Moriyama
created a joint project “iMimenation”: piano
and mime collaboration. They have toured in Philippines,
Brunei, Austria, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Ecuador
with the support from Japan Foundation and Kawai Piano Co..
In 1996, he was invited by the Japanese Embassy in the Republic
of South Africa to perform. In 2000, he was a featured artist
for the Japan Day in Athens, Greece.
He became an US citizen in 1993.