Miles Okazaki is a NYC-based guitarist originally from Port Townsend, a small seaside town in Washington State. His approach to the guitar is described by the New York Times as “utterly contemporary, free from the expectations of what it means to play a guitar in a group setting — not just in jazz, but any kind.” His sideman experience over the last two decades covers a broad spectrum, from standards to experimental music (Kenny Barron, John Zorn, Stanley Turrentine, Dan Weiss, Matt Mitchell, Steve Coleman, Jonathan Finlayson, Jane Monheit, Amir ElSaffar, Darcy James Argue, and many others). He has released nine albums of original compositions over the last 12 years on the Sunnyside, Pi, and Cygnus labels.
In 2018 Okazaki received wide critical acclaim for his six-album recording of the complete compositions of Thelonious Monk for solo guitar, an unprecedented project that Nate Chinen called “the six-string equivalent of a free solo climb up El Capitan.” That year, Okazaki was voted the #1 rising star guitarist in the Downbeat Magazine critic’s poll. Other projects include a longstanding duo with drummer Dan Weiss, a duo with percussionist Rajna Swaminathan, and a published book, Fundamentals of Guitar, with Mel Bay. He taught guitar and rhythmic theory at the University of Michigan from 2013-22, joined the faculty at Princeton University in 2021, and holds degrees from Harvard University, Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School.
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