CD review: Nobuki Takamen – Life Is Now 2020: Video, CD cover

- in New CD's Review, VIDEOS

Nobuki was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1977. He started playing guitar at the age of 14 right after he first heard Paul Simon’s guitar intro to The Sound of Silence. He moved to Tokyo to study at Obirin University, where he formed over 100 groups in 4 years.

Nobuki decided to come to the United States to study music at Berklee College of Music in 2001. In college, he studied with John Wheatley, Cheryl Bailey, Steve Rochinski, and Mick Goodrick. After graduating from Summa Cum Laude from Berkeley College of Music, he moved to New York in 2004. Since then, he has earned a reputation as “the best jazz guitarist ever made in Japan”, as praised by AllAboutJazz.

Described by Critical Jazz: “… Jim Hall meets Wes Montgomery on his way to the Kenny Burrell Show …”, his music draws influences from great jazz musicians and other musicians such as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and turns them into something of their own. He has toured North America and Europe with his band, performing in many of the best international jazz clubs and festivals including Iridium Jazz Club, Blue Note NY, Blues Alley, Smalls Jazz Club, Montreal International Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival. and the Nisville Jazz Festival, where he performed for the original Blues Brothers Band. Since 2004, he has also toured Japan annually.

Nobuki released his first album, Bull’s Blues, and his second, FROM NOW ON, on What’s New Records. His third album, Live at the Iridium, released on Summit Records, is a complete, uncut performance from a set at the Iridium Jazz Club in 2009. His fourth album, Three Wishes, recorded with his trio, was also released on Summit Records in 2012. …

In addition to leading his group, Nobuki often plays solo after his recital at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with 100% Guitare in 2009. He recorded his first solo guitar album a month before his European tour in August 2014. Vintage Guitar Magazine commented on the album: “Takamen is a master. A beautiful lead guitar. ”

In 2016, Nobuki released his sixth album Live in Japan. This two-disc album was recorded live while touring his home country in 2015 with his longtime music collaborators, Toshiyuki Tanahashi on bass and Naoki Aikawa on drums. Mark Sullivan of AllAboutJazz put it this way about the music of the trio: “This is the music of the jazz guitar trio in all its glory.”

In 2018, Nobuki released his seventh self-titled album The Nobuki Takamen Trio, which received a 5-star review from AllAboutJazz, recorded with the same trio as his previous live album. His original compositions from this album have been played over 400,000 times on Spotify in less than 6 months since its release. One of his compositions from the album, Helsingin taivas (Helsinki Sky), won first prize in the instrumental category at the 2019 US Songwriting Competition.

His playing and music have been featured in publications around the world, including DownBeat, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar, AllAboutJazz, LAJazz Scene, Jazz Podium (Germany), Jazz’n’more (Switzerland), Jazz Special (Denmark), Musica Jazz. (Italy), Jazzwise (UK), Jazz Life Magazine (Japan), Swing Journal (Japan), Jazz Japan, Jazz Guitar Book (Japan) and Jazz Guitar Magazine (Japan).

Nobuki was very passionate about music education. His diverse teaching experience includes jazz workshops at the Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival, the C-Jazz Camp at the Calgary Jazz Festival in Canada and Santo Music Street in Japan. When not on tour, he teaches private lessons at his studio in Jersey City, New Jersey, as well as Skype from anywhere in the world.

Nobuki is currently promoting his new album “Life is Now” and is booking tours to support the release of his 8th release.

01. Blues Wee
02. Just One Story
03. Last of All
04. Hider or Seeker?
05. Under the Big Sky
06. No Easy Days
07. Gee, Seventh Avenue
08. Home Away from Home
09. Life Is Now

Nobuki Takamen / Guitar
Toshiyuki Tanahashi / Bass
Naoki Aikawa / Drums

Nobuki Takamen - Life Is Now (2020)

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