WaKaNa plays SMOOTH JAZZ, SOUL and R&B. She also collaborates with rappers, singers, and DJs. She was born in Chiba, Japan and is a Central member of the young and upcoming pop instrumental band LUCA. After graduating from the Shobi Musical College, she has been performing both in LUCA, the band which she joined during her time as a student, and as a solo artist. She has experienced so many different types of music, and increasingly had chances to perform in Japan and in Asia as well.Currently active both in Japan and overseas, she played in Korea and China as a member of “IN YA MELLOW TONE”, a compilation series of JAZZY & MELLOW HIP HOP. Ms. Inamura has also performed with numerous musicians, both in Japan and overseas, and performed at the Cannonball 20th anniversary concert in Los Angeles USA in 2016. You will be impressed by her smooth R&B stylings on the saxophone.
Michael cut his teeth as a member of the band Kalapana . He was the featured saxophonist for the legendary jazz vocalist Al Jarreau for 12 years. With ten solo releases to date Michael is one of the most influential Asian American saxophonist in the world. As a performer and producer Michael has participated in many major jazz festivals around the world. Through his performances and events he has raised over a million dollars for charitable causes.
Having spent the last few years as the lead vocalist for the iconic band Hiroshima , Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Terry Steele’s career has crossed musical boundaries and international borders. His songs have sold millions of copies and have touched the heart and soul of millions of people around the world. Terry has written for or collaborated with megastar artists such as Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Spinners, Barry White, The Pointer Sisters, Arif Mardin, David Kershenbaum, George Duke and saxophonist Richard Elliott among many others. As the principal writer of the blockbuster hit, “Here And Now,” Terry garnered a Grammy nomination for “Best Rhythm & Blues Song” in 1990 and in that same year his composition won Luther Vandross his then first Grammy in the “Best R&B Male Vocal Performance” category.
Kay-Ta Matsuno Kay-Ta was born in Osaka, Japan, and moved to Boston, MA to study at Berklee College of Music when he was 20. The broad capacity of his playing style (from Gospel, R&B, country, jazz, and rock) helped him to start his career as a session guitarist in Los Angeles. His list of credits includes:David Foster, Baby Face, Natalie Cole, Keiko Matsui, Lalah Hathaway, Amerie, Chante Moore, Jackiem Joyner, Daniel Bedingfield, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Steve Porcaro, Virgil Donatti, Tony Macalpine, Jody Watley, Amber Riley (from Glee) Bob Mintzer (from Yellow Jackets), He also co-produced the debut album of artist Colby O’ Donis from Convict Muzik. (Geffin/Konlive) and he co-wrote australian Pop star Cody Simpson’s single “Be The One”
Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Upright/Electric Bassist Benjamin J. Shepherd started playing when he was 7 years old. 11 years later he moved to Los Angeles to study at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts) and to pursue a full time music career. He has since become one of the most in demand and versatile bassists in Los Angeles. Benjamin has performed on stage and recorded in the studio with artists such as Peter Erskine, Mike Stern, Billy Childs, John Beasley, Patrice Rushen, Lee Ritenour, Marquis Hill, Becca Stevens, Alicia Olatuja, Ellis Hall, Kenny Washington, Jubilant Sykes, Jamison Ross, The Monk’estra, Chance The Rapper, School Boy Q, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and many more. He currently endorses Ibanez Basses, Jule Amps, Aguilar Amplification, Accugroove Cabinets, Gruv Gear Accessories, GHS Strings and Xotic Pedals.
Bruce Hamada is one of the best bassist and jazz vocalist in Hawaii. His first attraction to music came from his father, Bruce Sr. Dad was a professional drummer in the Honolulu area and performed with many artists and acts throughout his long career including Hawaii’s piano legend Rene Paulo . Bruce has toured extensively in Japan and recently returned form the Java Jazz Festival where he performed with Jazz icon Stanley Jordan. Bruce’s versatility is unmatched on the double bass, electric bass and a vocal style that is blend of Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
One of the most prolific asian guitarist today, Born and Raised in Honolulu , Hawaii Fred was a member of the popular Jazz group Music Magic in the 1980’s . Since then Fred has toured and recorded with Hubert Laws, The Supremes,Ronnie Laws,Chante Moore, Michael Paulo,Harvey Mason,Brenda Russell,Deniece Williams, Everette Harp, Jeffrey Osborne and more. Fred currently plays with R&B legend Eddie Levert , teaches, does session work and is currently working on his first solo project .
Kimaya is an eclectic renaissance woman as managing CEO of Diamond Tigeress Productions, Power Of Presentation Enterprises, and Women On The Front Line Ministries. She is the former lead singer for the world renowned jazz group “Hiroshima” and has toured the world with many artists like Howard Hewitt and James Ingram to name a few. She is an accomplished songwriter ,session singer in Los Angeles, vocal coach, vocal arranger and performing arts instructor .
Kimo Cornwell, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. For more than 2 decades he has been one of the principal members and a major contributor to Los Angeles-based, 2 time Grammy nominated group, Hiroshima…as keyboardist,composer, arranger, and co-producer. Other credits include performing andrecording with such diverse artists as Cheryl Lynn (“To Be Real”), Ronnie Laws,Al Jarreau, Frankie Beverly and Maze, John Klemmer, Rick Springfield, Julio Iglesias, Howard Hewitt, Shari Belafonte, Tim Weisberg, Hubert Laws, PeterWhite, Charo, Michael Paulo, Pauline Wilson (Seawind), Kalapana, andlegendary jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison. He has scored music for several TV movies, cooking shows, and documentaries.
Multi-Instrumentalist, Vocalist, and Song-Writer, Austin Gatus first started playing his primary instrument, the Alto Saxophone, at 9 years old. Since then he’s attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop for 5 years, and has taken master classes from the likes of Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, and Gretchen Parlato. In the summer of 2014 Austin was awarded a merit based scholarship to the Berklee College of Music’s 5-week Program in Boston, where he was placed in the top Jazz Fusion ensemble under the direction of Tiger Okoshi. As a performing musician, Austin has been invited to headline in the lounge of Dave Koz Jazz Cruises, sailing twice to Europe and once to Alaska. He has also performed with Dave Koz, onboard his cruise, at the Thornton Winery, and at Humphrey’s by the Bay. He was also featured during two concert dates as a special guest performer with Kenny G, backed by the Orange County Symphony, and the San Diego Symphony. Austin also leads his own band or Jazz Quartet performing standards and his own original compositions at venues such as Spaghettini’s in Seal Beach, Croce’s Park West in Downtown San Diego, and the San Diego Fair’s Paddock Stage. However, his most endearing performances are in front of children from Rady Chidren’s Hospital, the Starlight Foundation, and other organizations that help kids fight cancer, as he himself was one of those kids, but is now a cancer survivor, and performs at charity events whenever possible. He is our first festival scholarship recipient this year.
Jeff Kashiwa born in 1963 in Louisville, Kentucky but moved to Seattle as a young child. He credited the public school’s music program for his starting his interest in music. He has also credited his father, who died in 1992, for his love of music because he was a fan of jazz music including Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller. While attending school, his father gave him an old silver clarinet. When he later saw a row of saxophones at school, Kashiwa knew he had found his new instrument.
As a local gig musician and working small jobs, Kashiwa searched for an audition in a more permanent position in a band. After searching and being denied, he approached Steve Bailey from The Rippingtons. Kashiwa was a fan of the Rippingtons and hired Bailey to play along with him and eventually asked about The Rippingtons audition. Kashiwa joined The Rippingtons following a festival concert and Brandon Fields’ exit from the group. Kashiwa prepared himself for the role by learning every song in the group’s library prior to being hired, making his eventual step into Field’s large shoes seemingly effortless. Kashiwa recorded his first two solo albums, (“Remember Catalina” and “Walk A Mile”), during his tenure with The Rippingtons.
In 1999 Kashiwa left the group to concentrate on a solo career with his own band, Coastal Access, which included Melvin Davis (Bass), Allen Hinds (Guitar), Dave Hooper (drums) and Dave Kochanski (Keyboards/Synths). Eric Marienthal and Paul Taylor both covered the sax player spot in The Rippingtons for a few years, but Kashiwa rejoined the group in 2007 for their 20th Anniversary Tour, and continues to appear with the group on occasion.
In 2004, Kashiwa called on some of his saxophone peers and started a new group that would feature the instrument, as well as their collective musical passion for jazz, funk and R&B. “The Sax Pack” features Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole & Kim Waters. Along with being cohesive musically, the trio share a unique and comical camaraderie on stage. The Sax Pack released two CDs, “The Sax Pack” (2008) and “The Pack is Back” (2009) on Shanachie Records.
Kashiwa plays soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute and the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). His involvement in music encompasses composing, producing, performing and teaching.
Kashiwa attended Berklee College of Music in 1981-83, where he developed an interest in straight-ahead jazz. As a student, he was picked as second alto chair by Disney’s All American College Band and eventually became an instructor. Kashiwa later transferred to Cal State Long Beach and received his bachelor’s degree in Music in 1985. Kashiwa currently teaches Music Technology courses at Shoreline College, as well as private music lessons for students of all ages. Kashiwa has a wife, Chaunte, and a daughter, Catalina.
Son of Eddie Katindig and Remedios Henaez. A pianist, musical director, and jazz musician, now based in US. Father Eddie, a saxophone great, is one of the greatest jazz players in the Philippines. Relative of Romy Katindig. From the Philippines, he migrated to USA in 2000, and has since then been playing in top jazz circles in Los Angeles. Has performed with some of the world’s jazz players like Lou Rawls, Richie Cole, Carl Saunders, Teddy Edwards Bill Henderson, Earl Palmer, Sam Most, Eric Marienthal, Kevyn Lettau, Hubert Laws, Debra Laws, Eloise Laws, Alphonse Mouzon. He considered playing with them as the highlight of his career, aside from playing with his father and brothers. From a musically-inclined family. Aside from a saxophone-playing dad, his brothers are also into music – Henry plays the piano and Boy plays the drums. Cousin, also named Boy Katindig, is a keyboard player. Considered Herbie Hancock as his idol. He dreams of working with the greatest jazz player. Majored in composition and keyboard when he was at the College of Music of University of the Philippines (UP). His minor instrument was the saxophone, but regretted that he did not master it like his father. During his college years, he had to borrow from his dad the baritone saxophone which had a case as big as a coffin. Since he was only commuting on passenger transportations (buses and jeepneys), people would usually stare at him since they were curious what was inside the coffin-like box. Introduced by his father to the music of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, George Shearing Tito Puente and Cal Tjader. His family has a strong Latin-music background. Has three children – Ella (born 2004) (with wife Dinah Bertulfo-Katindig) and two sons Carl and Third from previous marriage. Her grandmother gave him the nickname Tateng. However, he is known as Edong in school. Member of a jazz trio. The two other in his group are drummer David Anderson and David Enos.
Rene Paulo Known as Hawaii’s King of the Keyboards, He is the senior member at our festival, Rene was a child prodigy playing the pianoat 4 years old.Rene’s accolades include Hoku and Fil Am Lifetime achievement awards for his musical contributions. At 86 years young he currently has a recording contract in Japan and continues to amaze audiences with his virtuosity and flamboyant style. He is the father of our host and producer Michael Paulo
Osaka (Japan) born guitarist Kay-Ta has supported/performed with artists ranging from pop/R&B artists like Grammy Winner Lalah Hathaway, Jenifer Hudson, Jody Watley, Amerie & Chante Moore; contemporary jazz artists like Jackiem Joyner, Keiko Matsui, & Michael Lington; to Jazz Fusion artists like Japanese drum prodigy, Senri Kawaguchi. Along with US artists, he worked/toured with top Japanese artists like Chikuzen Satoh, Junko Yagami, Marlene. His classical crossover group "Quattrosound" was nominated for a 2013 Latin Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category. His solo debut album "ARRIVAL" won the 2016 15th annual Independent Music Award in The Best Jazz Instrumental Album category, and it's single "Call It Even" is moving up to No.27 on Billboard Top Jazz Songs Chart.
Legendary Japanese Hamonica Player and Guitarist makes his festival debut. He will be performing as part of our legends of Jazz with Rene Paulo and Bassist Bruce Hamada.
For the last three decades Keyboardist /composer Dave Iwataki has found a way to combine his passion for music with serving the community. A multiple arts-grant recipient, he has created several community-centric projects, including "The Healing Drums", designed to illustrate harmony and unity among the communities of Los Angeles, His diversity is reflected by his work with Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo/Billy Davis, Pointer Sisters, Olivia Newton-John, Tom Scott, Paul Anka, Willie Bobo, Alphonse Mouzon, Jon Lucien,Hiroshima, The 5th Dimension. As a composer he has written music for The Watase Media Arts Center at The Japanese American National Museum, also scored 2 episodes of PBS miniseries“Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire”, Hiroshima, Tom Scott, Luis Conte, Paullinho da Costa and others.
Vinnie Aguas is a 14 year old drummer that is known for his versatility and feel. He started playing drums at 10 years old and at age 12 he started playing with the Asia America Youth Symphony under the direction of David Benoit. Vinnie is also part of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shroder. Whenever time permits he plays with his own Vinnie Aguas’ Trio. Vinnie has studied David Anderson, Frank Briggs, Alex Acuna, Will Kennedy, Joey Heredia and Mark Guiliana. He has played with David Benoit, Will Kennedy, Billy Childs, Rick Braun, Tim Weisberg and Pat Kelly to name a few. He also played a few songs on David Benoit’s new album. Vinnie Aguas’ Trio is Mahesh Balasooriya on piano, Benjamin Shepherd on bass and Vinnie Aguas on drums.
Straight from “The Voice” singing sensation Anatalia Villaranda.