Profile 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 career.

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).

Besides 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.

Theater & Movies:
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.


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