Rhythm Summit Takes Drumming to New Heights in Atherton Studio, February 24

Feb 7, 2018

Rhythm Summit is a collaboration between three of Hawaiʻi’s top jazz and world musicians. Kenny Endo (taiko, bamboo flute, percussion), Noel Okimoto (drums, vibraphones, percussion), and special guest Dean Taba (acoustic and electric bass) bring their East-West innovations to the Atherton Studio on February 24.

Reservations for this unique trio may be made online at www.hprtickets.org or by calling the station (955-8821) during regular business hours. Tickets are $25 general, $20 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID; service charges are applied to online orders. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawaiʻi Public Radio, 738 Kāheka Street. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; music begins at 7:30 p.m.

Rhythm Summit was made possible by the Honolulu Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts in 2008. With his background in Western, Eastern, and world music, Kenny Endo is at the vanguard of contemporary taiko and has created novel compositions based on his belief that tradition is the basis for innovation. Noel Okimoto is a Royal Hawaiian Band member, composer, vibist, and considered the premier jazz drummer in Hawaiʻi. Together with cutting-edge guest artist Dean Taba on bass, they have created compelling music for Rhythm Summit, blending world rhythms and sounds weaving in and out of jazz fusion, world music, and percussion.

Rhythm Summit

About the artists
is one of the leading artists in contemporary taiko and percussion.  He is at the forefront of this genre, continuing to pave new paths in Japanese drumming even after forty years as a career taiko artist.  He holds the distinction of being the first foreigner to receive a "natori” (stage name and master’s license) in classical Japanese drumming. A performer, composer, and teacher with numerous awards and accolades, Endo is a consummate artist, blending taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation.  He is arguably one of the most versatile musicians in the genre, crossing easily between classical Japanese music and his own neo-traditional, globally inspired work.
Kenny has performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Soviet Union, and throughout the Americas.  He was a featured artist in the Japan National Theater's prestigious “Nihon no Taiko” concert in Tokyo 2013, has recorded nine CDs of original taiko compositions, and was a featured artist on the PBS special, “Spirit of Taiko.” Kenny has performed for many luminaries including Michael Jackson, Prince, as well as Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, opened for The Who, and recorded on the film soundtracks for “Picture Bride,”  “Apocalypse Now,”  and  “Avatar."   He has also performed as a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, and more. He serves as Artistic Director of Taiko Center of the Pacific, a school of traditional and contemporary Japanese drumming based in Hawaiʻi.

Born and raised in Honolulu, NOEL OKIMOTO has been playing professionally since the age of ten, and is now considered one of the best drummers in Hawaiʻi. He got his bachelor's degree in percussion at the University of Hawaiʻi. Noel has played in Hawaiʻi, the U.S. mainland, and internationally with Freddie Hubbard, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson, Riche Cole, Bill Watrous, Ernie Watts, Bud Shank, Barney Kessel, Lew Tabackin, Sadao Watanabe, Wynton Marsalis, and Ronnie Cuber, among others. He was also a member of the Gabe Baltazar group for five years. He has recently performed with Jake Shimabukuro, Makoto Ozone, Jeff Richman, Larry Coryell, Nestor Torres, Gene Harris, Take 6, and more. In 2004, Okimoto recorded and won awards for his CD Ohana. It was also well received in Downbeat magazine and other national publications.
Okimoto is also an accomplished orchestral percussionist, vibist, composer, and clinician. He has played percussion with many luminaries, including Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Steve Allen, Natalie Cole, Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, and Dionne Warwick.
Hghly regarded studio and freelance musician DEAN TABA began his musical studies on the piano at the age of six and played french horn in the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school jazz band that introduced him to the bass and improvised music. After extensive studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a refinement of his skills on both the acoustic and electric bass, Taba relocated in 1984 to Los Angeles to become one of its most in-demand musicians.
Also a respected clinician and educator (Los Angeles Music Academy, Musician's Institute, Cal-Poly Pomona, Grove School of Music), Taba has recently performed/recorded with David Benoit, Mark Murphy, Jake Shimabukuo, Andy Summers, Sadao Watanabe, The San Francisco Symphony, Hiroshima, Rick Braun, The American Jazz Institute Orchestra, Dave Koz, Jeff Richman, The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Ho, Bill Watrous, and many others as well as playing on countless CDs, TV shows, and movie sound tracks.
Despite his busy schedule, Taba is always sure to devote time to writing music for his own projects, the latest of his three CDs is The Camarillo Waltz. This recording features ten of Dean's innovative jazz compositions.
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