Rhythm Summit, an East West Collaborative Project, Releases Debut CD


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Featuring: Noel Okimoto, Dean Taba, Kenny Endo—Release Date: August 17, 2010

Rhythm Summit, a unique collaboration bringing together the artistry and musicality of world-class musicians Kenny Endo (taiko drums, bamboo flute, percussion), Noel Okimoto (trap drums, vibes, marimba, percussion), and Dean Taba (bass, kalimba), announces the release of its first CD, Rhythm Summit. Endo, Okimoto, and Taba, all respected musicians in their fields, have come together to create compelling new music blending east and west.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Noel Okimoto has been playing professionally since the age of 10 and is arguably the top jazz drummer in Hawaii. Noel's primary instrument is the drum set, but is also an accomplished orchestral percussionist, vibraphonist, composer and clinician. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Percussion from the University of Hawaii. Noel has played in Hawaii, the mainland USA, and internationally with Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Watrous, Ernie Watts, Barney Kessel, Lew Tabackin, Sadao Watanabe, Wynton Marsalis, Makoto Ozone, Take 6, Henry Mancini, Natalie Cole, and Jake Shimabukuro, among others. He was also a member of the Gabe Baltazar Group for five years. Okimoto recorded an award- winning jazz CD in 2004,'Ohana, that received rave reviews in magazines such as DownBeat and Modern Drummer.

With his strong background in Japanese & world music, Kenny Endo is the leading name in the contemporary usage of the ancient taiko. He has created novel compositions through his belief that tradition is a basis for innovation. Long in the vanguard of the Japanese taiko genre, he continues to pave new paths in this Japanese style of drumming after over 30 years as a career taiko player. A performer, composer, and teacher with numerous awards and accolades, Kenny Endo is a consummate artist, blending taiko with rhythms influenced from around the world into original melodies and improvisation.

Originally trained as a jazz musician in the Asian American cultural renaissance of 1970s California, Endo began his taiko career first with L.A.'s groundbreaking Kinnara Taiko, and then with the renowned San Francisco Taiko Dojo, the first kumi daiko group outside of Japan. In 1980, he embarked on a decade-long odyssey in his ancestral Japan, studying and performing with the masters of ancient classical drumming, traditional Tokyo festival music, and ensemble drumming. Endo has recorded five CDs of original taiko compositions, and was a featured artist on the PBS special “Spirit of Taiko."

Dean Taba is a versatile musician and composer, active both in the studio and performance. Dean began his music studies on the piano at the age of 6 and later played French horn in the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school jazz band that led him to take up the bass and learn to improvise 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, Dean relocated to Los Angeles (in 1984) to become an in-demand musician. Also a respected clinician and educator, Dean has recently performed/recorded with artists such as Mark Murphy, Jake Shimabukuro, Andy Summers, The San Francisco Symphony, Hiroshima, The American Jazz Institute Orchestra, The Philippine Phil- harmonic Orchestra, Daniel Ho, et al., as well as being a part of numerous CDs, TV shows, and film soundtracks. In spite of his busy schedule, Dean 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 10 of Dean's innovative Jazz compositions.

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