I’m playing a show on Saturday March 28 with Kenny Endo, one of the world’s leading Japanese taiko drummers. I am so honored to play with him, and his band line up is fantastic.
There’s Kaoru Watanabe, an incredibly talented Japanese fue (bamboo flute) player living in New York City. Brad Dutz, a jazz vibraphone player so good, he’s a little scary… and the four guys who make up L.A.’s own taiko group, On Ensemble.
The show was so beautiful. The sound at the venue was perfect, thanks to Yoko Ito. It was sold out, and beautifully lit. I hope to add some video footage soon, meanwhile…
Here’s a review from Cerritos Ink
This concert began with the basics, the grand tradition of Taiko with Kenny Endo playing the big Taiko drum, turning two sticks and a skin stretched out over this hollow space into a magical journey called “Harukaze.” The large crowd sat up in their seats and got ready for more when On came on stage for “Noon Cycles” that straightened some backbones in rapt attention. When special guests started joining the group it increased the scope but not the volume, just adding intricacy to the sound. There was Brad Dutz on vibes, Ysanne Spevack on violin and Kaoru Watanabe on flute. These three were really and truly superb, certainly strong enough individually to stand up there and carry a show on their own. Each guest added a certain spice to the mix; Spevack making some tunes drift toward Balkan or Indian tones, Dutz tossing tasty jazz riffs in and Watanabe returning everything back to Japan with his flute. Sometimes there would be a stage full of hand held percussion like on “Spirit of Rice” or a seashell blown as in “Yume no Pahu” or the sort of pedal koto played by Bergstrom and even a didgeridoo from Aborigine Australia. Holding it all together was the powerful, limitless invention of Kenny Endo playing Taiko.