Jazz pianist to perform at Dayton Art Institute, discusses new album



Pianist Keigo Hirakawa gigs regularly with his trio, which he’s bringing to Dayton Art Institute’s Shaw Gothic Cloister on Thursday, Aug. 10 for a Bob Ross Jazz and Beyond series concert. However, his incredible new album, “Pixel” (Origin Records), was recorded with Cincinnati-based Brandon Scott Coleman (guitar) and Detroit players Rafael Statin (saxophone, clarinet), Robert Hurst (bass) and Alex White (drums).

Hirakawa, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Dayton, recently discussed “Pixel,” which was recorded in a two-session in Detroit in August 2022.

Expanded band: “We occasionally have horn players as featured artists with my trio and it has a different sound. It gave me a little tickle in my brain, especially after Rafael appeared with us at Cliff Bell’s in Detroit. It was my first chance to play with a Detroit musician and he sounded really good with the rhythm section. We really hit it off. That’s when I decided I wanted to record with Rafael somewhere along the line.”

Listen to “Yaw Pitch Roll” from Keigo Hirakawa’s new album, “Pixel”:

Sound of Detroit: “I was also playing with Brandon Coleman, an amazing guitar player. I started having this vision of recording with a dream band with him and Rafael. Rafael introduced me to Alex and we clicked. Detroit has its own sound, and Rafael and Alex have that sound. I started falling in love with the Detroit sound. Rafael, who works with Robert, introduced us and he agreed to do this recording session with me. Robert is great, super nice and accessible. He gave me a lot of advice as we put this recording together.”

The pre-production: “One of the great things is Robert and Alex started working on the sound throughout our one day of rehearsal. They talked a lot about how they wanted it to feel. By the time we went into the studio they had established that sound. It sounded like it was made for the session, which made my job easy. I was smiling. I knew something would happen when I put these types of musicians together, but I wasn’t prepared for what I heard.”

Label support: “I shopped the album around to some labels and I fortunately had a few offers. Origin Records has put out really amazing stuff. It’s one of those labels I love. They were sort of my stretch goal, but I didn’t think they were going to call me back. I was amazed. They really prioritize their artists. They spent a lot of time with me working through stuff. It’s been great.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or donthrasher100@gmail.com.


What: The Bob Ross Jazz and Beyond series presents the Keigo Hirakawa Trio

Where: Dayton Art Institute, Shaw Gothic Cloister, 456 Belmonte Park N., Dayton

When: Thursday, Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Cost: Free for DAI members and children 6 and younger, nonmembers $15 adults, $10 seniors 60 and older, active military, $5 college students 18 and older with ID and youth 7 to 17

More info: 937-223-4ART (4278) or www.daytonartinstitute.org

Artist info: www.keigohirakawa.com

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