IMG_1335

Born in Osaka-city, Japan in 1954. Akihito started playing guitar professionally at local clubs while he was still in a local college. In 1976, he was admitted to the Afro-American Music department of New England Conservatory of Music, one of the oldest and the most prestigious conservatories in the United States. He majored in Jazz Guitar and earned the Bachelor of Music degree there. While in NEC, he studied jazz guitar with Barry Galbraith, Chuck Wayne, and Gene Bertoncini. He also studied music literature, solfege, theory, arranging, history, third stream music, and so on with many renowned jazz educators like George Russell, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Giuffre, Ernie Wilkins, Carl Atkins, Ran Blake, and so on. In the second year at NEC, he played in the George Russell’s Living Time Orchestra for a year, and in the third year played in the Jaki Byard’s Apollo Stompers for a year. He was the member of the first jazz band ever played in the graduation concert of the NEC in 1979. Upon graduating from NEC, he started translating one of the most important publications in the modern jazz history, the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization book into Japanese by the personal request from the author of the book, George Russell.

After completing the translation of the Lydian Chromatic Concept book, Akihito came back to Japan and resumed his career as a professional jazz guitarist mainly with two different ensembles. The one was a guitar trio with a bass and drums, and the other was the “Four Guitar Ensemble” consisting of four guitars and a rhythm section. The unique sound, instrumentation, and the arrangement of the ensemble made the Four Guitar Ensemble one of the most popular jazz ensembles in town, and the ensemble performed in various musical events as well as at local jazz clubs.

Around the year 2000, Akihito started concentrating on playing 7-string guitar that he picked up while he was studying with Barry Galbraith at NEC and has continued performing as one of the few 7-string jazz guitarists even now.

In 1983, Akihito started his career as a music educator at Koyo Conservatory of Music in Kobe, Japan, and had taught guitar, ensemble, notation, harmony, ear training, arranging, English, history of jazz, and the Lydian Chromatic Concept there until he left there in 2013. He also had been the chair of the music theory department of Koyo Conservatory for many years and dedicated to construct the music theory program of the school that has been a member of the Berklee International Network since 1995.

Besides performing and teaching, Akihito translated many method books and music software manuals as well as many seminars and clinics of well-known musicians, educators, and clinicians. In 1993, the Japanese translation of the Lydian Chromatic Concept book was officially published in Japan, and as the translator of the book as well as the first official Japanese teacher who received the permission to teach the Concept from George Russell himself, Akihito had taught the Concept at Koyo Conservatory of Music until he left there where has been the only official school in Japan to study the Concept.

Akihito was also the Vice President of International Programs of the Koyo Conservatory of Music, which let him attend to the many of the annual meetings of the IAJE (International Associations of Jazz Education) and IASJ (International Associations of Schools of Jazz) to teach and perform in many places in the US and Europe.

After he left Koyo Conservatory of Music, he moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and started his new career as a full time faculty at the International College of Music (ICOM) from July 2013. ICOM is another partner school of the Berklee College of Music.