Hailed by the LA Times as a “powerfully inventive” and “remarkably versatile L.A. musician with a penchant for crossing all over the musical place,” saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba’s work emphasizes the integration of improvisation with pre-composed music. She has written for and performed in various jazz and classical new music settings, including commissions by the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series and the Seattle Symphony’s chamber series, and as a member of Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited and the Jon Jangtet. In addition to leading her own ensembles, ranging from trios to big band, Oba is a co-founder of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab, premiering and recording stylistically diverse new music including a collaborative, multi-genre cantata. Her second jazz album, “Negai,” released under Japanese label M&I and distributor Pony Canyon, received a prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Award.” Her most recent album, “Water Stem,” was released from Asian Improv Records in May 2023. Originally from Berkeley, CA, Oba is currently based in Los Angeles, teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles directing several progressive and exploratory jazz ensembles, teaching jazz saxophone lessons, and developing and teaching multi-genre music theory curricula. Oba was previously a faculty member at Cal State Los Angeles and Pasadena City College and presents masterclasses and workshops on improvisation, composition, and saxophone at various institutions.
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Photo by Erich Chen