Toshiko Akiyoshi on Teddy Wilson

Now, A Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: Teddy Wilson's "Sweet Lorraine"

This recording of pianist Teddy Wilson playing "Sweet Lorraine" was the first jazz that Japanese pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi ever heard.

Toshiko Akiyoshi: When I heard that I said, Oh I wanna play just like that...

MUSIC: little post

Teddy Wilson was very clean pianist. I think most swing era pianist was very clean, easy to understand. But Teddy Wilson in particular. For classically trained pianist like myself I can identify.

By imitating what she heard on records, Akiyoshi soon gained stature in Japan, becoming the first Japanese player to be recorded by a major American label, back in 1953.

People always ask me why you became a jazz player. And it's not an intellectual decision. Something about the rhythm, I felt very natural.

This Jazz Moment with pianist and bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Toshiko Akiyoshi on Teddy Wilson