Akira Tana and East Wind Blues


Akira Tana and East Wind Blues

May 04, 2024
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory

2040 Addison Street , Berkeley
This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Akira Tana and East Wind Blues featuring Takezo Takeda, Sundra Manning, and Bob Kenmotsu! Unannounced surprise guests are also a possibility! Renowned for their collective prowess and individual virtuosity, this performance promises an extraordinary journey through the soulful depths of blues music.

Band Members

Akira Tana – Drums
Takezo Takeda – Guitar and vocals
Sundra Manning – Organ
Bob Kenmotsu – Tenor sax

Artist/Group Bios

Akira Tana studied at Harvard University and at the New England Conservatory of Music, taking lessons from Vic Firth of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and privately from jazz drummer Alan Dawson. During his studies he had the opportunity of working with Helen Humes, Milt Jackson, Sonny Rollins, Jaki Byard, George Russell, Hubert Laws and other leading jazz musicians. He also performed with classical music ensembles at the New England Conservatory and at the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood. In the early 80s, he continued to accompany major artists such as Al Cohn, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Jim Hall, Zoot Sims and Cedar Walton. He also performed with artists outside the jazz world, including Charles Aznavour, Lena Horne, and Van Dyke Parks. Tana recorded extensively during these years and in addition to albums with some of the foregoing also appeared on recordings with Chris Connor, Carl Fontana, Jimmy Heath, Tete Montoliu, many others. In the early 90s Tana worked with James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Wess, Ray Bryant, J.J. Johnson, and the Manhattan Transfer, among others. With the bassist, Rufus Reid he formed the band TanaReid. In addition to playing, Tana has also produced and co-produced several albums including those by TanaReid, the Asian American Jazz Trio and Project G-7:A Tribute to Wes Montgomery featuring Kenny Burrell. Tana also has nine recordings as a leader, “Secret Agent Men” and “Moon Over the World,” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” on Sons of Sound recordings. Another is “JAZZaNOVA” that features Branford Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval with vocalists, including Clauida Villella. The most recent projects are four recordings by his group, “Otonowa” that features jazz interpretations of Japanese folk and pop melodies that date back decades and even centuries. This group has completed seven tours of the earthquake/tsunami stricken areas of northern Japan since March 2013. Akira plays Yamaha Drums, Vic Firth Sticks and Sabian Cymbals exclusively. Tana is currently on the faculty at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and does fill shifts on KCSM as an announcer and programer.

Sundra Manning is a highly sought after B3 Player, Pianist, Keyboardist and Producer, respected for her wide ranging musical versatility. Sundra is a Graduate of San Francisco State University (B.A., Economics and B.A. Broadcast/Audio Production); She has toured around the world sharing her lovely gift of music; and has received Grammy Nominations and Gospel Academy Awards for her music. She continues to create music that inspires all. Sundra brings a funky, fresh and gritty approach to the Hammond B3 organ, piano and keyboards that is unique and special. Sundra has played with legendary musical greats such as The Monkees (Peter Tork), Larry Graham, Prince, Raphael Saadiq, Rachelle Ferrell, Ledisi, The Roots, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Gill Scott Herron, India Arie, Maceo Parker, Cindy Lauper, Michelle Shocked, Martin Luther, Mike Phillips, The Braxton Brothers, J. Spencer, Sheila E, Miguel Migs, Cody Chestnut, Tramaine Hawkins, MC Hammer, Joan Osborne, EnVogue, Walter Hawkins Choir, 5 Blind Boys Of Alabama, James Cleveland, Jennifer Holiday, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Marvin Sapp (Commission), and many more. 
Sundra has recorded, written and/or produced with Raphael Saadiq, Peobo Bryson, Ledisi, The Braxton Brothers, The Roots, Mike Phillips, Will Downing, Wendy Lands, Lalah Hathaway, JW, Maysa, Shelby J., EnVogue, Michael Franti, Miko Marks, MeShell Ndgeocello, Brenda Vaughn, Michelle Shocked, Martin Luther, LaToya Lucket (Destiny’s Child), Pete Escovedo, Paul Jackson, Jr., HBO films, Sony Pictures, Bose Corp, Pottery Barn, Lane Bryant, William Sonoma, Kohls, Sharper Image, Pottery Barn Kids, Oracle Corp, KPIX-CBS 5, Warner Pictures, KTVU-Fox 2 and Young & The Restless (CBS Soap Opera), PBS. She continues to perform, produce and record music and is available for accompaniment, touring, studio/music production, songwriting collaborations, film scoring, vocal production and indie music consultations. For more, visit https://www.reverbnation.com/sundramanninghttps://www.reverbnation.com/sundramanning

Yoshinobu Takeda, a.k.a. Takezo, was born in Kagawa, Japan, and grew up in Kyoto. Takezo began singing in bands and composing music at the age of 12. Among his earliest influences were American movie soundtracks, The Beatles, and Otis Redding. His instincts brought him to San Francisco, California in 1985 to pursue a career in music. Since then he has performed as a rhythm and blues singer/guitarist with artists such as Elvin Bishop, Angela Strehli, Joe Louis Walker, Norton Buffalo, and many others. “My friend Takezo is lot of fun to play music with. You can always count on him for a great groove – the feel of his playing and singing is just right everytime. I really admire him for having the courage to come to a strange country, not knowing anyone here, and simply out of the love of the music, jumping right into the black music scene. He has done much more than just learning things from records – he has really lived the music. I think this is why he has captured the real blues and soul feeling.”
– Elvin Bishop

Bob Kenmotsu was born in Stockton, CA and he first learned music in the public schools. Bob graduated from San Jose State University and began working local music jobs. After working a cruise ship job out of Los Angeles, he moved to New York and began working as a free-lance jazz saxophonist. 
While in New York, Bob was a member of the Jack McDuff organ combo, and the Ruth Brown Band. He recorded ‘The Spark’, with Billy Hart and Ira Coleman, and ‘Bronx Tale’, with Pat Martino and Jack McDuff. Bob also played on Pat Martino’s ‘Nightwings’, with Bill Stewart and Marc Johnson. While living back east, Bob received a New Jersey Arts Commision Grant for composition. In 1994, Bob went to Japan on a Japan/US Fellowship cultural exchange grant, and lived there until 1997. While there, he played many clubs, concerts, festivals, and toured the country several times. In 1997, Bob returned to the US, this time to the San Francisco Bay Area. He recorded ‘Looking at Air’, with Bill Stewart, Essiet Okun Essiet and Joel Weiskopf. Now, Bob lives in Berkeley, CA and is working jazz clubs and concerts on the West Coast. His latest recording, ‘Trio”, features Bob with David Wong, bass, and Rodney Green, drums.

Proof of vaccination is no longer required for Covid-19. Masking is optional and masks are available upon request. The California Jazz Conservatory kindly requests that anyone feeling unwell refrain from attending in-person events of any kind.

This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR