Bassist, composer, and arranger Noriyuki Ken Okada was born in New York and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Yokohama, Japan. Beginning piano at the age of 5, he added electric bass and drums to his repertoire at 12. Ken's teenage years brought inspiration from Japanese fusion and video game music, leading him to explore jazz and achieve recognition with Keio University's prestigious big band, where he won the largest national big band competition in Japan.
After relocating to the Bay Area in 2002, Ken has had the privilege of collaborating with acclaimed local jazz artists, including John Worley, Destiny Muhammad, Leon Joyce, Kristen Strom, and Akira Tana, appearing in renowned jazz festivals such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, Stanford Jazz Festival, and SFJAZZ, and world-class jazz clubs such as Yoshi's, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, SFJAZZ Center, and Dizzy's.
In addition to performing as a sideman, Ken has devoted time to crafting his original compositions and recently formed his own band. His latest album, "Square One," which features Yoyoka, showcases a unique blend of jazz, fusion, and an eclectic array of musical influences.
Born in Hokkaido, Japan, YOYOKA started playing drums even before she began to speak. When she was eight, she became the youngest weekly champion in the global drumming contest “Hit Like a Girl.” During this period, YOYOKA's drum cover of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times" received international recognition and praise, including from Robert Plant himself.
YOYOKA became the youngest person to be featured on Drummerworld's list of the world’s Top 500 Drummers and appeared in Newsweek Japan's “100 Most Respected Japanese in the World.”
Her two appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” along with commercials for companies like UNIQLO and Nike, have expanded her reach. Guest performances with many top artists including Fall Out Boy and Cyndi Lauper, as well as coverages by CNN, NBC, NPR, BBC, Billboard, Rolling Stone, etc., have further highlighted her talent.
When YOYOKA was 12, her original song "Sparkling," featuring renowned musicians including Rhonda Smith and Derek Sherinian, topped charts in various countries like Japan, Australia, Italy, Germany, and US.
YOYOKA now resides in Los Angeles and continues to strive to bring energy to people through music and shape the global artistic landscape in the years to come.
Since the age of eight, YOYOKA has been an endorser of Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals, and Vic Firth sticks.
noriyukiokada.comKen Okada on FacebookKen Okada on Instagram
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This concert will also be livestreamed on SJZ’s YouTube channel.
Our new popup venue and video recording studio that we've developed in our offices at First and San Carlos in San Jose’s SoFA District. The technology of the space is first-class with marvelous sound, lighting and video, and all the action is projection-mapped to a 35′ X 14′ bank of windows, providing the show free to the public and enlivening downtown street life.
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