Sana Nagano aims to approach music organically and boundlessly. Her violin playing has attracted critical acclaim since her album, Inside the Rainbow, was released in 2014. “There is something magical here, an unforced sublime unfolding like flowers reaching for the sun.” Bruce Gallanter (The Downtown Music Gallery) expresses the sentiment. Being an active band leader and composer, some of Nagano’s latest projects have been her own avant-jazz quintet “Smashing Humans,” avant-pop/experimental strings-vocal duo Peach and Tomato (Leonor Falcon), math-rock quartet “Atomic Pigeons”.
Nagano is the kind of improviser that recalls the very best of avant-jazz-rock violin, resurrecting the spirit of Billy Bang, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the full breadth of modernism all in one. Nagano’s acoustic violin is clean, cutting, sinewy, regal, magical. Yet nothing seems to please her more than ripping into a lightning bolt like, electric sounding improvisation using her pedals intermittently. This die-hard improviser grew from many years of formal classical and jazz training, all put to excellent use. She clearly musses the conservatory up with the intentional/unintentional chaos and musical play in the best imaginable way.
She has been a mainstay of free jazz giant Karl Berger’s Improvisers Orchestra and world-renowned, innovative percussionist Adam Rudolph’s Go: Organic Orchestra. Nagano also worked with Joseph Jarman, Yusuf Lateef, William Parker, Daniel Carter, Oliver Lake, Glen Velez, Loire (Lori Cotler), Billy Martin, Kenny Wessel, Peter Apfelbaum, Steven Bernstein, Dave Fiuczynski, John Ehlis, Harvey Valdes, Yuma Uesaka, Brittany Anjou, Yasuno Katsuki, Keisuke Matsuno, Rocco John Iacovone, Will Mason, Dan Stein, Showji Masaharu, Akihiro Honma, Michiru Inoue, Kenya Kawaguchi, Stephen Elkins, Tyler Luppi, Pawel Klin, Sam Day Harmet, Robert Boston, Glen Fittin and others. In 2016 she played for contemporary dancer/choreographer Jodi Melnick’s residency at the Guggenheim Museum.
Sana Nagano has toured in various cities in the U.S., Japan and Poland. She regularly performs in some of the finest venues in NYC, including Carnegie Hall, Kaufman Music Center, Le Poison Rouge, St.Peter’s Church, the Guggenheim Museum, the Rubin Art Museum, the Stone, the Stone at the New School, Shapeshifter Lab and Roulette, the Rockwood Music Hall.