Ai Kuwabara is a jazz pianist, composer, and music director based in Tokyo and Los Angeles.
A musical storyteller who crafts unique worlds through her compositions, Kuwabara was born in Chiba, Japan in 1991. She has released 11 full-length albums, creating works with precise technique and vivid sensibility that have drawn comparisons to Michel Petrucciani, Esbjörn Svensson, and her compatriot Hiromi. Kuwabara works extensively with drummer Akira Yamada.
Kuwabara debuted nationally in Japan in 2012 with her trio’s “From Here to There,” followed by “The Sixth Sense,” in 2013 which reached Number One on the Tower Records Jazz Chart and was selected by The Japan Times as the best album of the first half of 2013, also winning the Nissan Presents Jazz Japan Award 2013 Album of the Year New Star Prize. After performing her first U.S. tour in 2013 to sold-out crowds in her American debut, she performed with her trio on the main stage of the 12th Tokyo Jazz Festival. As a participant in the Parmigiani Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2015, Kuwabara met Quincy Jones. Soon afterward, Quincy Jones Productions organized her concert in Los Angeles, a project that was so successful that Quincy Jones Productions took it further the following year, presenting shows in Los Angeles and New York. In 2017, Ai released “Somehow, Someday, Somewhere” with Steve Gadd on drums and Will Lee on bass. Quincy Jones said of the album, “Ai’s heart leads her to greatness and it's beautiful to hear and see. This girl has right and left brain on the case!” After touring with Gadd and Lee, Kuwabara released “Ai Kuwabara with Steve Gadd and Will Lee Live at Blue Note Tokyo” as her eighth album in 2019. This was followed by albums with TV Asahi and with Walt Disney Records.
Kuwabara has recently composed and released a soundtrack for an original Japanese musical called “In a World of Never Ending Rain” and is presently engaged in new recording projects as well as film scoring and musical projects as a music director, conductor, and composer.
She is available for projects and bookings in the United States and around the world.
- LA/Southern California
Interested in touring?
- Music Director/Conductor (Pianist)
- Music Assistant
- Vocal Arranger
- Class/Voice Lesson/Rehearsal Pianist
- Rehearsal Pianist