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Piano Keyboard Instrument

Sumito "ARIYO" Ariyoshi

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Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo is internationally recognized for his vigorous innovative piano style. He’s an accomplished arranger and sought after studio musician. He's shared the stage and toured the world with such legends as Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Eddie Shaw, Valerie Wellington, B.B.King, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Ariyo currently is a permanent member of Billy Branch & The S.O.B.'s.

Inducted into ‘2017 Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.’

SUMITO ARIYOSHI aka ARIYO by David Whiteis

Since he first arrived in Chicago in 1983, I have seen Mr. Ariyoshi in performance in blues venues all over the city. I have observed him in electric blues settings, small-group ensembles, and performing solo. I have also heard his 1998 CD, Piano Blues, on the P-Vine label. Mr. Ariyoshi has been hired as a regular pianist by several Chicago blues artists of international stature: these include guitarist Jimmy Rogers, who was one of Muddy Waters' earliest Chicago colleagues and played a significant role in forging what is now known as the postwar Chicago blues style; and guitarist Otis Rush, who was seminal in the development of the electrified, musically aggressive late-50s, early-60s Chicago style. The late vocalist Valerie Wellington, who was internationally feted as one of Chicago's most promising young talents before her untimely death in 1993, also hired Mr. Ariyoshi to work in her band. The breadth of styles represented by those artists demonstrates one of the strongest points of Mr. Ariyoshi's musical talents: he has compendious knowledge of the rich and varied Chicago keyboard tradition yet he imbues his playing with forward-looking, contemporary influences and improvisational imagination. Especially significant is his use of rhythm: while his harmonic and melodic ideas are rooted solidly in the tradition of older-generation Chicago pianists like Big Maceo, Sunnyland Slim, Johnnie Jones, and the still-active Pinetop Perkins, he brings to his playing a highly energetic and often rhythmically complex propulsiveness sometimes he seems to approach his keyboard almost like a rhythm instrument, infusing even his most well-crafted melodic lines with percussive intensity. In this fusion of tradition and experimentation, Mr. Ariyoshi, like his mentors Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rush, represents the ongoing development and evolution of the Chicago tradition. Speaking strictly in melodic terms, 12-bar blues is a relatively simple genre, although an expert improviser like Mr. Ariyoshi can summon a remarkable range of colors, textures, and tonal variety from the somewhat limited range of options made available by the form. Many of the most important innovations in the style have been rhythmic: faster tempos, complex polyrhythmic interplays between lead and bass voices, and skillful insertion of additional notes and runs into the standard 12-bar form have represented the core of many of the advances that have occurred in Chicago blues since the post-World War II era. The most accomplished artists have succeeded in laying such rhythmic and spacial innovations over melodic ideas rooted firmly in tradition, thus achieving a finely-honed balance between musical roots and the improviser's art. Aside from the propulsive energy and complex right hand-left hand interplay that characterize his work, Mr. Ariyoshi has developed several signature techniques that mark him as an important innovator. One of the most striking involves suspending the penultimate chord of a twelve-bar phrase for several bars into the next phrase a musician would call this "delaying the turn-around" until it almost sounds as if he has lagged irrevocably behind the beat, then sliding effortlessly into the next phrase; the resulting sense of built-up tension and release evokes both the sensuality of traditional blues expression and the combination of playfulness and willful challenging of convention that represent the essence of the bluesman's art. In summary, it is my professional opinion that Mr. Ariyoshi has become a vital link in this ongoing process of expanding and elaborating upon tradition, a process that carefully retains the essential components of heritage while bringing vital new visions to it. On a regular basis, he shares engagements with veteran keyboardists like Pinetop Perkins and Detroit Jr.,demonstrating the similarity between his style and theirs while also showing how his unique rhythmic sensibility and innovative approach toward both timing and melodic structure bring fresh and contemporary new textures to the tradition these elder statesmen represent. To lose his presence in the Chicago blues world would be to leave a serious gap in the ongoing continuum of this city's blues piano heritage, from the roots to the future.

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Currently the pianisit in "Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues," Ariyo plays his own style Blues, Jazz, R&B, Funk and Gospel with Solo and his Unit "Ariyo-C." Appeared as SOLO Pianist in "Chicago Blues Festival" in 2003 and 2007, "Chicago Jazz Festival" in 2005. Appeared with "Ariyo-C" in "Asian Jazz Festival" in 2004 and “Hyde Park Jazz Festival” in 2009.

2017 in the 'Chicago Blues Hall of Fame'.

Recent recording as the side man for Lil’ Ed, Mud Morganfield, Jimmy Burns, Mississippi Heat, Jimmy Johnson, Carrie Bell Family, Breezy Rodio, Stefan Hillesheim and more...


Solo album

·1998: Sumito Ariyoshi “Piano Blue” (P-VINE PCD-5757)

·1990: Sumito Ariyoshi “Ariyo's Shuffle” (UK Project UKCP-1014)

Billy Branch and the Sons of the Blues

·2019: Billy Branch & the Sons of the Blues “Roots and Branches: The Songs of Little Walter” (Alligator Records ‎ AL 4992 02)

·2014: Billy Branch & the Sons of the Blues "Blues Shock" (Blind Pig B00Y40CJ8S)

·2009: Billy Branch & the Sons of the Blues "Live & Kicking! at Rosa's Lounge" (P-Vine PCD-25097)


As Sideman

•2023; Stefan Hillesheim "When I'm Gone"

・2022;Wendy and DB "Into the Little Blues House"

·2020: Gerald McClendon "Can't Nobody Stop Me Now" (CD Baby B089KVG1L8)

·2018: Lurrie Bell & The Bell Dynasty "Tribute To Carey Bell" (Delmark Records – DE 855)

·2018: Mud Morganfield "They Call Me Mud" (Severn Records B0789G9LWK)

·2018: Breezy Rodio "Sometime the Blues Got Me" (Delmark B0798LR87Y)

·2018: Various Artists "Tribute: Delmark's 65th Anniversary" (Delmark B07CCFRZBX)

·2016: Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials :"The Big Sound Of Lil' Ed And The Blues Imperials" (Alligator Records B01IG8CGY0)

·2016: Mississippi Heat "Cab Driving Man" (Delmark B01KGLE19S)

·2016: Shoji Naito "New Cool Old School" (BSMF Records BSMF-1043)

·2015: Jimmy Burns "It Ain't Right" (Delmark B00ZLLK9D6)

·2014: Breezy Rodio "So Close to It" (Windchill Records 1001)

·2014: Rob Stone "Gotta Keep Rollin'" (Vizztone Records VTMQ10013)

·2014????: The Big Fielders With Breezy Rodio "When Music Was Music" (Wind Chill Records xxxx)

·2011: Jimmy Burns "Stuck in the Middle" (CD Baby B0063TX86A)

·2010: Charles Mack "Be My Crazy Dream" (CD Baby 076650073510)

·2008: Vince Agwada "Eyes Of The City" (Rocketnoodle Music rnmcd00001)

·2006: Cleveland Fats "The Way Things Go" (Honeybee Entertainment – HB 3302)

·2006: Charles Mack "Next Generation Blues (CD Baby B000CA3IAC)

·2004: Billy Branch and Carlos Johnson “Don't Mess with the Bluesmen” (P-VINE PCD-25020)

·2004: Yasushi Nishino "All Through My Life" (Ragmania RAGB-0002)

·2001: Rico Mcfarland "Tired of Being Alone" ‎ (Evidence B01A7UE0TO)

·2000: Various Artists "We're Standing At The Cross Road -Tribute to Robert Johnson" (P-Vine Records PCD-5807)

·2000: Amanishi Blues-Line “Sincerely Yours”

·1999: Various Artists "PV JAZZ" (P-VINE PVCP-8195)

·1996: 天西Blues Lines "Sincerely Yours" (Ragmania RAGB-0001)

·1994: Kimura Atsuki & The Blues Gang “The Blues Gang Live” (江戸屋レコード B00005MQ4T)

·1994: Mojo Club "The Mojo Club" (トライエム MECR-30048)

·1991: Blues Kid Nyudow & Friend "Real Blues Meeting In Shimokita" (インディペンデントレーベル B00005II7D)

·1988: Robert Covington "Blues in the Night" (Evidence B0000014Q5)

·1987: Various Artists "New Bluebloods" (Alligator Records ALCD-7707)

·1984: Steve Arvie Blues Band (Their first album)

・1985 (2004): Robert Jr. Lockwood “Annie's Boogie” Live in Japan1985 (P-VINE DVD PVDV-15)

Piano Keyboard Musical Pattern
Piano Keyboard Musical Pattern



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Featured Interview – Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi

BY MARK THOMPSON (2016/11/4)

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Q&A with Japanese musician Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo - recognized for his vigorous innovative piano style.

by Michael Limnios Blues Network


SWEET HOME CHICAGO Blues with a Feeling

By Elizabeth Winkowski


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Entrevista con Sumito ‘Ariyo’ Ariyoshi

by María Luisa Méndez (2023/8/1)

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2017 Chicago Blues Hall of Fame


中国の若者がブルースに感じた「自由」 シカゴのバンドツアーに沸く 日本人ピアニストが重ね合わせる思いは


China-Japan Friendship Through Blues Music



傀儡 (くぐつ) のよしなしごと


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Sumito "ARIYO" Ariyoshi

official website

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Sumito ARIYO Ariyoshi