Nanako Sato is a jazz musician, originally hailed from Japan, who performs regularly around Christchurch. She is a multi-instrumentalist (piano, keyboards, guitar, ukulele, flute, trumpet and all other percussion instruments) who also utilise her strong vocal skills for her own groups and other backup singing works.
Nanako Sato is a jazz musician/composer/arranger who performs regularly around Christchurch. She performs at many weddings and private functions, as well as festivals like Jazz Festival, Big Band Festival and Arts Festival all around New Zealand with her other various groups such as 18 pieces big band “The Garden City Big Band“ and NZ, own All Girl Big Band, jazz quartet “The Nocturnal” and and “The Garden City Combo“, jazz trio “The Organic Jazz Band” , jazz duo “Sophisticated Lady Jazz Duo” and solo piano.
Nanako is a passionate singer-songwriter who released her original composition album “Miracle Tree” in 2009. She performed her original pieces around Christchurch, and one of the tracks, “Shade of Difference” (drum and bass style track), was placed at number 1 in the RDU radio show chart for three weeks. Nanako is a passionate singer-songwriter who released her original composition album “Miracle Tree” in 2009. She performed her original pieces around Christchurch, and one of the tracks, “Shade of Difference” (drum and bass style track), was placed at number 1 in the RDU radio show chart for three weeks.
Nanako is the pianist of ‘The Garden City Big Band,’ which the band has recorded and released an album “Hey! What’s The Time?” in 2013 at the Big Band Festival in Christchurch. Unfortunately, the formidable bandleader, music director, mentor to many musicians in NZ, and the one and only jazz legend Mr Stu Buchanan passed away in June 2014. “Hey! What’s The Time?” album was a collection of beloved Mr Buchanan’s original compositions and the Garden City Big Band recorded with the help of PledgeMe funding. Nanako is the pianist of ‘The Garden City Big Band,’ which the band has recorded and released an album “Hey! What’s The Time?” in 2013 at the Big Band Festival in Christchurch. Unfortunately, the formidable bandleader, music director, mentor to many musicians in NZ, and the one and only jazz legend Mr Stu Buchanan passed away in June 2014. “Hey! What’s The Time?” album was a collection of beloved Mr Buchanan’s original compositions and the Garden City Big Band recorded with the help of PledgeMe funding.
Nanako also collaborated with C-City Brothers (the rugby players from Canterbury) in 2013 for Christmas CD for “Starship Christmas Album.” Sato arranged and played the piano for “NZ Wonderland” backing music, and she also appeared in the music video. Nanako released the jazz album “Blue Skies” with her all-girls trio, The Organic Jazz Band, in 2014, and successful; their album was released in December 2014 at the Orange Studio in Christchurch.
Nanako is also a keen teacher who teaches both daytime and nighttime at Hagley College. She is the Programme Leader of the School of Music at Hagley College and also teaches Jazz Piano at Hagley Jazz Course in the evening. She has previously taught at Mairehau High School and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in Christchurch and tutored at the Hagley Jazz Course (evening course) for over a decade. Sato is passionate about community and is the former chairperson of the music teachers’ association CWSMTA (Christchurch Westland Secondary Music Teachers’ Association) and a member of the Big Band Committee in Christchurch.
Nanako Sato: Prolific Musician and a “Keen Educator”
This bibliography-styled outline and analysis of what Nanako has achieved and what she brings to the Christchurch/NZ music scene is exhausting to read but is by no means comprehensive. It is merely a snapshot of all that is Nanako Sato- a prolific musician. She is one of the busiest, most dedicated and highly sought-after musicians in Christchurch, yet still finds the time and energy to prioritise her music students. She is a skilled and enthusiastic educator who passionately invests the very best of her experience and ability into those who are blessed to be under her tutelage. – Kaye Grenon – Musician Mentors Musicians of Christchurch, NZ.
Nanako works as an accompanist, arranger, choir director, vocal coach, conductor and musical director. She has been an enthusiastic choir director, vocal coach, and musical director for musicals for the last five years. She accompanied four amazing top jazz singers, Jennine Bailey, Tessa Quayle, Toni Randle, and Courtenay Washington, at the Jazz Festival in 2012 at the Women in Jazz.
“Be prepared to swing with the Divas during an evening of sultry smooth jazz presented by some of New Zealand’s top female jazz talent. In this concert, Tessa Quayle, Toni Randle and Courtenay Washington join Christchurch’s very own jazz chanteuse, Jennine Bailey in tribute to the wonderful women in jazz. In turn, our four leading ladies will take to the stage to express their admiration and respect for the women who paved the way and influenced their personal journey into the world of jazz. This concert will feature stunning performances of Feeling Good, Skylark, New York State of Mind, Lullaby of the Leaves, and much more. An incredible musical event that is not to be missed!” Jennine Bailey (vocals), Tessa Quayle (vocals), Toni Randle (vocals), Courtenay Washington (vocals), Rachael Treveille (sax), Nanako Sato (piano), Michael Story (bass), Andy Keegan (drums). – Press Release –
She was a member of one of New Zealand’s premier corporate, wedding and function eight-piece cover bands ‘Studio 54‘. The band performed at the New Year’s Eve countdown band in 2010 in Cathedral Square.
Nanako was a former accompanist for the Ariana Tikao group and toured all around New Zealand (Wahine Toa Tour in 2010) as well as appeared in the Christchurch Arts Festival in 2009 Ariana Tikao’s show “Ōhāki”. Follow the links to view a couple of Ariana’s original compositions performed at the festival: Rainbow, Tuia and Korakorako.
“Review from Harbour Light Theatre show: Unique styles to enjoy (The Press, 22 May 2010, Page 17) by Chris Pole. Hannah Howes and Ariana Tikao have combined their talents to tour New Zealand together through May and June, taking in many smaller towns. Beginning last night in Christchurch, they opted for the cosy confines of Lyttelton, bringing their unique styles to the atmospheric Harbour Light Theatre. Both artists fleshed out their songs with keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Ben Lemi Wood and Nanako Sato, who opened proceedings with four songs of her own.” Chris Pole – The Press
“Christchurch singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Nanako Sato, whose talents on the keyboards are undeniable, matches those skills to her formidable, smoky voice. …her funky lounge and jazz-tinged sounds fitted nicely in with those of her fellow performers, her songs blooming with Ben Wood’s percussion and drumming talents, his brushwork giving a delicate touch to her material.” SFBH, Wellington 30th May 2010 Amanda Mills – NZ Musician
Nanako is a part of the Child Well-Being Research Institute Doctorate Programme at the University of Canterbury and currently working towards her PhD study in Education, Health and Human Development. She also holds M.Mus in Composition, B.Mus (Hons.) from the University of Canterbury, majoring in jazz piano performance and composition, Dip. In Teaching and Learning from College of Education, B.Mus from the University of Canterbury and CPIT Jazz School combined degree majoring in jazz piano performance and Diploma in Art from Hokkaido Women’s College. Nanako also obtained a CELTA Certificate (B pass) through the 2018 summer course.
Nanako has worked as a translator in the film and music industry: Dororo (2007), Hayley Sings Japanese Song 2 (2009).
Nanako is a keen educator who teaches in the secondary education sector as well as she produces tutorial videos for instruments online. She also has a Japanese tutorial website.