Akira Tana

tanaAkira Tana was born in San Jose, California. He received degrees in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1974 and percussion from the New England Conservatory in 1979.

Tana has worked with such jazz greats as SONNY ROLLINS, SONNY STITT, ZOOT SIMS, HUBERT LAWS, MILT JACKSON, JIM HALL, ART FARMER, THE PAUL WINTER CONSORT, PAQUITO D’RIVERA, JAMES MOODY, J.J. JOHNSON, LENA HORNE, THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER, JUNIOR MANCE, and RUTH BROWN. His work has not solely been limited to the jazz field, as he has also accompanied diverse artists such as CHARLES AZNAVOUR, MAURICE HINES, and VAN DYKE PARKS. He has appeared on over 200 recordings.

In his four recordings as leader for Sons of Sound, Mr. Tana has led a creative effort to expand the catalog of jazz standards beyond the American Songbooks. His first, Secret Agent Men, explored film and television themes for new jazz arrangements. Inspired by James Bond’s 50th Anniversary, he and Larry Dunlap arranged the 007 canon for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang featuring the Secret Agent Men and vocalist Annie Sellick. Between these releases, Mr. Tana convened a trio and recorded Moon Over The World featuring jazz interpretations of Asian popular and folk melodies. His most recent quartet release, Otonowa, inspired by relief efforts for the great tsunami and earthquake, focuses exclusively on the Japanese tradition and introduces the fan drum and shakuhachi along side traditional jazz orchestration.

Tana co-led a group in the 90’s with the bassist Rufus Reid known as TanaReid. While the group is no longer performing, they recorded 5 critically acclaimed CD’s. TanaReid is still active as a production company. Tana produced Mr Reid’s 2015 Grammy nominated CD Quiet Pride.An active teacher and clinician, Tana has taught at Rutgers University, Queens College, Jersey City State College, New York University, and is currently on the faculty at San Francisco State University and the California Jazz Conservatory.

Tana plays Yamaha Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, and Crescent Cymbals exclusively.