“Berklee College of Music” was initially opened in 1945 in the name of “Schillinger House of Music” , and it was changed to “Berklee School of Music” in 1954, then again changed to current name, “Berklee College of Music” in 1970.

It was in Jan.,1956 that Toshiko Akiyoshi moved to USA to enter “Berklee School of Music”. She got a tuition exemption as well !! Already she was very famous in Japan because of acquaintance of Oscar Peterson and made her first album with help of introduction by Oscar.

On the first day she arrived at Boston, she heard that there was performance of Bud Powell at the club. She went there and saw Ed Thigpen (ds) who got friendship with Toshiko already in Japan. Ed Thigpen introduced Toshiko to Bud Powell and got a chance to play up close to Powell who was an idol of Toshiko. Oh, a cinderella girl exactly !!!

Toshiko Akiyoshi Piano Trio
video is in 1958]. Drum is Ed Thigpen

Toshiko had a tentative return back concert in Japan in 1961, and there she offered fascinating proposal to Sadao to move to Berklee School of Music after Toshiko as an oriental musician.

Sadao appreciated to her kindness, and finally moved to USA in 1962.

On the day Sadao arrived at New York, Toshiko came to the airport and brought him to jazz club in Manhattan where Charles Mingus was playing.

Toshiko introduced Sadao to Mingus, and Sadao was playing up close to Mingus.

That was exactly the same case as Toshiko’s to get a chance with Bud Powell !!

Nowadays around 80 Japanese students are graduated from Berklee College of Music. So many !!

However, definitely it was established by two pioneers, TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI and SADAO WATANABE !!