In 1959, she married jazz saxophonist Charlie Mariano and formed a quartet with him. She and Charlie had a daughter together.
During the 1960s, Toshiko began composing and arranging music for other artists like Charles Mingus. She and Charlie eventually divorced, and she married flutist Lew Tabackin in 1969. They moved to Los Angeles, California, in the early 1970s.
In 1973, Toshiko formed an amazing jazz orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, comprised of 16 musicians.
She introduced a lot of Japanese culture to the band, incorporating some Japanese instruments into their recordings. Their first album was titled Kogun, and the jazz orchestra went on to receive tons of critical praise.
Toshiko and her husband returned to New York in the 1980s, where the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra continued to be successful and play in historical venues like Carnegie Hall. In total, the band recorded 22 albums and received a whopping 14 Grammy nominations.
In 2003, the jazz orchestra played their final show together in New York City. After that, Toshiko returned to playing piano, her first musical love. In 2007, she received a Jazz Master award from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Toshiko still does some work in the music world today, as she is a living legend. She is 93 years old and still with her husband, who will play the tenor saxophone and flute alongside her for a few numbers at the Lincoln Center Jazz concert, The Music of Toshiko Akiyoshi, on March 10th.
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