“[Uesaka] has arrived with a mature conception, and the tools to execute it, all promising more to savour in the future”-John Sharpe, All About Jazz
A boundary-pushing saxophonist and clarinetist, Yuma Uesaka is known for his work in modern creative jazz, avant-garde, and new classical music. Uesaka has been active in New York City since 2014 and came to wider attention with Ocelot, the eponymous debut from his collaborative trio with Colin Hinton and Cat Toren. In 2021, he released Streams, a critically acclaimed duo recording in collaboration with pianist Marilyn Crispell.
Born in 1991 in London, Uesaka lived in Nagoya, Japan before moving with his family to Michigan at the age of eight. There, he started on the saxophone at age ten and added clarinet two years later. After high school, he attended the University of Michigan, and he earned bachelor’s degrees in both Jazz Studies and Computer Science Engineering. He also studied at the prestigious Banff Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, where he worked with performers like Vijay Iyer, Nicole Mitchell, and Tyshawn Sorey. Based in New York City, Uesaka has performed with a bevy of forward-thinking artists, including Anna Webber, Adam O’Farrill, Jeff Lederer, Nick Dunston, among others. He regularly performs at venues such as The Jazz Gallery, Roulette, and National Sawdust.
In 2021, Yuma has received honorable mention from the ASCAP Herb Albert Young Jazz Composer Award and composition commisions from Metropolis Ensemble and Either/Or Ensemble
Yuma is a member of Polyfold Musical Arts Collective. Polyfold is a grassroots, artist-led non-profit organization that helps create opportunities for improvising musicians to present creative works.
(Biography, in part, courtesy of Matt Collar)