Since the sensational debut as the pianist of straight-ahead jazz band Black/Note, Ark Sano continuously maintains the reputation of one of the top pianists on the jazz scene. Beside four albums, including "Jungle Music" on Columbia and "Nothin' But Swing" on Impulse with Black/Note, he has appeared numerous recordings in variety of genre. His latest release and second leader/trio album "In Storm, In Breeze" is receiving rage reviews worldwide. While he has appeared on live TV and radio shows nationally, Ark's abundant performing experience also extends to major European Jazz festivals such as; North Sea, JVC, Montreal, Monterey, Victoria, and the Umbria Jazz festival.
URB magazine wrote " the energy and speed in Ark's playing is mind blowing... rips through solos with a calculating precision and unprecedented command of Jazz harmony". LA Jazz Scene wrote "a marvelous, technically adept musician, who plays with a controlled fury". Ottawa Citizen said, "Ark Sano has dazzling technique and a special fluency on modal burners".
Renowned Jazz critic Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times praised Sano saying he "displayed a diversity of ideas that ranged from ingenious chording to rapid single note lines". The Sacramento Bee wrote "Sano, who on the boppish opener had shown a hard hitting attack, framed (ballads) along with tenderly wonderful chords and changes" and the Los Angeles Weekly wrote "Sano, uses his McCoy Tynerish chording and broad rippling sounds as the delivery system for the nerve-twisting harmonic structures".
At the age of 12 he started playing an organ that his parents bought him. This extraordinary talent was soon realized and he started with formal training. Within two years, having acquired the ability of transcribing and arranging the music from TV, radio. Etc, he decided to from a band. He began performing around his hometown, Gifu, Japan. By the age of 16, the music of the great masters such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin had caught his attention so he directed most of his time towards the piano, and left organ behind.
When he had graduated from high school, he continued to play at the better local clubs and restaurants. Ark was introduced to Jazz when one of the local musicians heard this gifted young pianist playing at a club, and enticed him into joining their band. It didn't take too long before Ark was totally fascinated by Jazz. Now, Ark decided to dedicate himself to Jazz music, so he continued listening to and studying the art.
Soon after he was performing with his own jazz band. His band quickly gained attention as a newcomer to the jazz scene. However, his passion and inspiration for the music, as well as his desire to become a better musician, led him from Gifu, a small town in Japan, to the U.S.A. to study at Berklee College of Music, which awarded him a scholarship.
While at Berklee, he was quite active, participating in ensemble audition teams and playing for Berklee project bands, while giving and performing numerous concerts and recitals. In 1989, he made the finals in The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. In 1990 he graduated from Berklee College of Music, Summa Cum Laude, majoring in Jazz composition, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career. While performing at local clubs and restaurants, he attended numerous jam sessions and met Black/Note, which he became a regular pianist of.
His enthusiasm for music keeps his schedule full. He is actively performing with his own trio and solo piano while writing and performing classical pieces and giving concerts. He is also composing/arranging for various chamber ensembles including Japan America Chamber Ensemble, for which he serves as a music director.