Saxophonist and composer Hitomi Oba was raised in Berkeley, California.
Hitomi completed her MA at the University of California at Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies from UCLA two years prior. There she studied classical composition, jazz performance and composition, as well as world music genres including Bulgarian polyphonic singing, Japanese taiko drumming, and Balinese gamelan.
Her second jazz album, “Negai”, released under Japanese label M&I and distributor Pony Canyon, received the prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Awards, New Star Award”, following her critically acclaimed first album, “First Flight”.
Recent projects of Hitomi’s include leading her own small ensemble, co‐directing and writing for Jazz Nexus, her sixteen‐piece jazz orchestra devoted to performing creative original music, releasing the album, “Periapsis”, by her progressive, electro‐acoustic pop duo, Nova, co-writing and producing the collaborative jazz opera, “STRANGE FELLOWE”, and co-founding the composer/performer collective, L.A. Signal Lab.
In addition to writing for her own ensembles, Hitomi has been commissioned to write and arrange, while also playing ,for a variety of jazz and genre-diverse ensembles including Jon Jang’s Pan‐Asian Arkestra with guest members from the award-winning Taiko Project, Kenny Burrell’s Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, and the Indian classical and jazz collaborative Aditya Prakash Ensemble, most notably for the Carnatic/jazz fusion and theatrical dance production, “Mara”, at the Ford Theater in Los Angeles.
Hitomi is currently based in Los Angeles, where she is also a lecturer of Music Theory at the University of California at Los Angeles.
“Hitomi is a conceptual artist — not the type who manhandles you right away...” ‐East Bay Express
“Hitomi is able to exhibit her individuality... and mesmerizes with playing that is so substantial to listen to...” ‐JazzPage
“Oba is a thinker as well as a swinger: she likes versatility and spontaneity....” ‐DownBeat Magazine
“Clast and Crag”: Written by Hitomi Oba for jazz quartet. Recorded in 2015, Los Angeles. Performed by: Hitomi Oba – tenor sax, Lee Pardini – piano, J.P. Maramba – bass, Jens Kuross – drums.
“The Song of Enchantment” - from “Act 1: Love,” of “STRANGE FELLOWE: a Jazz Opera.” From a 2013 studio recording. Text by Walter De La Mare, edited by Jerome A. Parker, music by Nick DePinna and Hitomi Oba.