Nocturne is delighted to welcome organist Akiko Tsuruga, drummer Jeff Hamilton and guitarist Steve Kovalcheck back to the stage for two very special nights of world-class jazz.

March 1 & 2, two shows each night; Set One: 6:30 – 7:45 pm and Set Two: 8:45 – 10 pm

Raised in Osaka, Japan, Akiko Tsuruga began studying the organ at the age of three, at the famed Yamaha Music School. After discovering her passion for jazz, Akiko launched her career immediately after graduating from the Osaka College of Music.  Since moving to New York, Akiko Tsuruga has been a regular on the jazz scene as a B3 player since her arrival in 2001. Almost immediately, she began working with artists like Jimmy Cobb, Frank Hess, and Lou Donaldson (whose quartet she joined in 2007). As a bandleader, Akiko has ten albums to her credit both the U.S. and Japan. Her albums have constantly placed in the top ten on the National Radio Jazz Chart. Akiko also received the “Swing Journal Rising Star Award” (Japan) in 2010, Hot House Magazine (NYC) Best Organist’ in 2017, and the DOWNBEAT Magazine Critics Poll 2020 Rising Star Organ.  Akiko’s newest project is an all-star trio featuring iconic drummer Jeff Hamilton and Colorado-based guitarist Steve Kovalcheck. This thrilling trio has been touring around the US and Europe to great reviews.

Jeff Hamilton – influenced by his parent’s big band records at a young age, was inspired to at age eight to begin playing drums to the records of the great Oscar Peterson. Today he is featured with some of the top names in jazz and pop on more than 200 recordings, 22 of which received Grammy® nominations. He also performs and records frequently with his own trio and as co-leader of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. His own albums include the recently released Great American Songs: Through the Years, and earlier efforts Symbiosis, and Red Sparkle. Additionally, he teaches, arranges and composes. Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, “Philly” Joe Jones, and Shelly Manne were important influences. Early engagements included the New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Lionel Hampton’s Band before joining the Monty Alexander Trio in 1975 with bassist John Clayton. From 1983 to 1987, he performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie & His Orchestra, and Rosemary Clooney. Prior to forming his own trio in 1995, Jeff played with the Ray Brown Trio. The Los Angeles Jazz Society named Jeff Musician of the Year, and he was recently voted #1 Jazz Drummer in Modern Drummer Magazine’s reader’s poll.

Colorado-based jazz guitarist/composer Steve Kovalcheck holds a B.M. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an M.M. From the University of Northern Colorado, where he currently teaches jazz improvisation, and jazz history; directs jazz ensembles and leads the jazz guitar ensemble. His professional experience includes recording and touring with Columbia recording artist Robinella and the C.C. String Band. Kovalcheck has performed with artists including Victor Krauss, The “New York Voices,” The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Symphony, The Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Coffin, Tommy Sims, Blue Note Recording Artist Carrie Rodriguez, The Dana Landry Quartet, and many more. Steve’s newest musical collaboration is an all-star trio featuring iconic drummer Jeff Hamilton and NYC organist Akiko Tsuruga.

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