Rina Yamazaki was born and raised in the fertile farmland prefecture of Saitama, Japan. She discovered her love of jazz music early in life and gravitated towards piano and later incorporated organ and thus was the beginning of her musical journey. Her pursuit of music, and jazz specifically led her to the United States, after being accepted into the legendary Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
she encountered legendary musicians who taught her and mentored her, guiding her musical growth legendary Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone.
In 2018 summer, Rina Yamazaki won the Second Place and also won the Nu Jazz Agency’s Chico & Lupe O’Farrill Award for Best Original Composition at the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition. The competition was unlike any other music contest in the world. With over $200,000 (USD) in cash and prizes, and over 160 entries from 13 different countries as one of seven finalists, it was certain to be no easy task. The music competition covered the genres of Bebop, Jazz Standards, New Orleans Style, Modern Jazz, Latin Jazz, and Post-Bop as well as the formats of Solo Piano, Piano Trio, Piano Quartet (One group with a Vocalist & another with an Instrumentalist), and even required the competitor to perform an original composition with their trio. Sitting in judgment was National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters Ellis & Branford Marsalis, 5-time Grammy & Latin Grammy Award winner Arturo O’Farrill, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Band Leader Jon Batiste,
Since then Rina Yamazaki has played in Jonathan Batiste’s Stay Human, the house band for The Late Show with Stephan Colbert. Rina was nominated as “Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Boston Music Award 2018, recorded with Peter Washington, Neal Smith, Jerome Jennings, “Mimi” Sullivan, Dezron Douglas, Dayeon Seouk and countless other national and international jazz legends. She has performed sold-out engagements at such internationally famous venues as Blues Alley and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and tours regularly both in the U.S. and internationally with her trio.
2011 July 7 Played in one of the most famous Jazz club in Japan, at Blue Note Tokyo (Makoto Ozone presents Gemstones Jazz Orchestra) with a big band orchestra. She also had the chance to play a solo piano piece thanks to Makoto. It was her first time to play in front of audience as a pianist.
2013 April 6 Played piano duo with Makoto Ozone at the spring festival in Tokyo.
2013 September 7.8 Rina was selected to play at the Jozenji street Jazz Festival with Grammy camp scholarship students. The event was supported by the Gucci timepieces and Jewelry Japan music foundation.
2014 March 21 While Rina was still studying with Makoto, he invited her to play a duo piece during his solo concert in Chiba, Japan. At this time, he suggested that Rina goes to study music in USA.
2014 April 5 Rina performed with Makoto again in his own concert at Toyohashi art Theatre Plat.
February 2015 Rina auditioned for Berklee and recieved a Full-tuition scholarship and ended moving hallway around the world. This deeply inspiring experience opened the door to higher levels in her musical endeavor.
2016 March 1 Since she arrived in the U.S, Rina received the “Jazz Performance Award" for being amongst the best jazz pianists at Berklee. Rina also was selected by audition to perform a solo piece at the annual Piano Department concert.
2017 March 20 Rina was introduced in an article in Jazz Japan called “60 New Jazz Artists”.
2017 October 9-17 Rina represented Berklee College of Music as a cultural ambassador, playing with Ukranian bassist Han Beyli for a tour of France, culminating in a performance at the Nancy Jazz Festival.
2017 November 13 Rina had the opportunity to play with the Neal Smith Octet featuring Billy Pierce at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.This was her first time to play in New York. Few weeks after, she was chosen to perform with the same band for Bill Pierce’s Retirement party at the Red Room in Boston.
2018 January 31st, Rina recorded with Peter Washington (Bass) and Neal Smith (Drums). Rina's first own project in the USA.
2018 April 5 -15, Rina toured in Japan.
2018 May 13 to 20, Rina was nominated to participate in a special performance opportunity playing with Ralph Peterson at the Bern Jazz Festival in Bern Switzerland.
2018 June 22 -23, Rina entered the prestigious Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition 2018. She was awarded "Second Place Winner" also received the Nu Jazz Agency's Chico & Lupe O'Farrill Award for "Best Original Composition"
2018 September, Rina was nominated as “Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Boston Music Awards 2018.
2018 November, Rina played for The Late Night Show With Stephen Colbert with Jon Batiste house band at Ed Sullivan Theater.
2019 January, Rina played at the Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola as a winner of the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition
2019 January, Rina was awarded "Third Place Winner" in the 7 Virtual Jazz Club's Contest 2018.
2019 February, Rina was invited to sit-in on the Makoto's piano solo concert in Japan. Performed "Someday My Prince Will Come and "Deux Voitures Francaise Mignonne" composed by Makoto Ozone.
2015 Full Tuition Scholarship
2016 Jazz Performance Award by Berklee College of Music
2017 Named one of "60 New Jazz Artists" by Jazz Japan
2018 2nd Place Winner in the Ellis Marsalis International Jazz Piano Competition
2018 the Nu Jazz Agency's Chico & Lupe O'Farrill Award for "Best Original Composition"
2018 Nominated "Jazz Artist Of The Year" by the Boston Music Awards 2018.
2019 3rd Place Winner in the 7 Virtual Jazz Club's Contest.