The Story of Duo Day

They weren’t interested in each other when they first met in New York in 2012. But the first time Francesco Geminiani, Italian tenor saxophonist, and Martha Kato, Japanese pianist, played a note together, chemistry happened. They immediately perceived that they were the ones that they had been looking for. It was so obvious that these two were the perfect match for a duo. Ever since then they have been playing together day after day pursuing their own musical direction, and building their own relationship to music and life. Their endless imagination, the flexibility in improvisation and the playful conversation they create in music takes to a different journey every time. Their versatility beyond genres allows them to have a wide range of repertoire from jazz standard to Brazilian music, The Beatles and their original compositions.
Francesco was born and grew up in Verona, Italy, and started his musical training during his high school years. His father always loved jazz and used, he still does, to play jazz LPs and CDs at home everyday. Thanks to that Francesco soon discovered a deep interest in the Afro-American music and started to take lessons with Robert Bonisolo as well as being a student at his hometown jazz program. After he graduated in 2010, he moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, studying at the jazz department of the HEMU and earned his bachelor degree in 2012. Finally in the same year he moved to New York to study under a scholarship at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he had the opportunity to study with Kevin Hays, Doug Weiss, Ben Street, Chris Cheek, Matt Penman, and Reggie Workman. Besides that he plays in many different bands working between New York and Europe.
Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Martha didn’t even remember when she started playing music, but before she was born she was already listening to her mother’s piano playing and singing. She started taking classical piano lessons at age of three, and composition lessons at six. She has been on the stage and making recordings since childhood. Her reputation as a pianist, accompanist, and composer has steadily grown with every performance. Her interest was not only in classical music, but also world music, pops, gospel and jazz. Discovering Bill Evans during her senior year at high school, she shifted her focus from classical music to jazz. As soon as she graduated from high school in 2008, she started performing jazz in Nagoya. In 2009, she moved to New York where she began her studies on a scholarship at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. She has studied with Kevin Hays, Robert Sadin, Reggie Workman, Hal Galper, Aaron Goldberg, George Cables, Sam Yahel, Doug Weiss, Ari Hoenig, Ben Street, and others. Soon after she started performing at venues in and around NYC such as Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club, Drom, Cornelia Street Café, and Shapeshifter Lab. She has been performing not only in the States but also in Europe including Bern International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Slovenia, and Denmark. She was also one of the few participants accepted to the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Emerging Artist Workshop at the Kennedy Center. She has a breadth of knowledge in classical composition and jazz language and is bringing that to composition. Recently her piece "After The Rain" received an honorable mention for the 2012 ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Awards. Her new composition “Frostwork” won the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.
Francesco and Martha have been involved in many other projects as well. They are both important members of Balchemy, the Balkan jazz group, who released a debut album last year, and have had some successful performances in Europe including a-week-long performance at Marian’s Jazz Room in Bern, Switzerland.