Jazz pianist Toru Dodo was born in Tokyo, Japan, on February 8, 1972, and started playing classical music at age four, listening to his share of Johann Sebastian Bach, Fryderyk Chopin, Gustav Mahler, Claude Debussy, Sergei Prokofiev, and Giacomo Puccini well into his teenage years. But he discovered jazz in his studies at the Meiji University in his hometown while also majoring in economics. Admitted influences on that end included Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Joe Zawinul, as well as Steve Reich and Japanese fusion icons Ryuichi Sakamoto and Toru Takemitsu. Working in the clubs and some concert halls of Tokyo was a prelude to moving to the United States and enrolling at the Berklee School of Music in Boston in the summer of 1995. Proving an outstanding student and performer, Dodo graduated summa cum laude, and headed for the active jazz scene in New York City as the leader of his trio with either bassist Reuben Rogers or Joseph Lepore and drummers John Lamkin or Rodney Green. As a sideman, he has performed and toured with the quartet of drummer Pete Zimmer and worked alongside Kenny Garrett, Wallace Roney, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Randy Brecker, Louis Hayes, Ruth Brown, Terumasa Hino, Rene McLean, Tom Harrell, Wayne Escoffery, Carl Allen, Delfeayo Marsalis, Robin Eubanks, Carolyn Leonhart, and Satoshi Inoue. His CDs have been produced by another Japanese legend, guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo. Dodo has also led the regular Sunday evening jam session at the New York City nightclub Cleopatra's Needle since 2002.