Biography


BIOGRAPHY (Short):
Originally from Hiroshima, Japan, jazz guitarist/composer Nobuki Takamen has been developing a reputation as ‘’the best jazz guitarist Japan has ever produced’’ as lauded in AllAboutJazz since he relocated to New York in 2004.

Described by Critical Jazz: ‘’…Jim Hall meets Wes Montgomery on their way to a Kenny Burrell show…’’, his music draws influence from the jazz greats and other musicians such as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and melts them into something distinctively his own.

Nobuki has toured with his group in North America and Europe, performing at many of the best international jazz clubs and festivals including Iridium Jazz Club, Blue Note NY, Blues Alley, Smalls Jazz Club, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and the Nisville Jazz Festival, where he opened for the original Blues Brothers Band. He has also toured annually throughout Japan since 2004.

Nobuki has four albums released on What’s New Records and Summit Records, and three albums on his own label, including his first solo album, ”Solo Guitar”, his two-disc 6th album, ”Live in Japan”, and his eponymous 7th album, ”The Nobuki Takamen Trio”.

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

Nobuki is currently working on promoting his new album, ‘’Life is Now’’ and booking tours to support the release of his 8th release.

Biography (Long):
Born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1977, Nobuki began playing the guitar at age 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 more than 100 bands in 4 years.

Nobuki decided to come to the USA to study music at Berklee College of Music in 2001. At the college, he studied with Jon Wheatley, Sheryl Bailey, Steve Rochinski, and Mick Goodrick. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music, he relocated to New York in 2004. Since then, he has been developing a reputation as ‘’the best jazz guitarist Japan has ever produced’’ as lauded in AllAboutJazz.

Described by Critical Jazz: ‘’…Jim Hall meets Wes Montgomery on their way to a Kenny Burrell show…’’, his music draws influence from the jazz greats and other musicians such as Paul Simon, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and melts them into something distinctively his own. He has toured with his group in North America and Europe, performing at many of the best international jazz clubs and festivals including Iridium Jazz Club, Blue Note NY, Blues Alley, Smalls Jazz Club, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, and the Nisville Jazz Festival, where he opened for the original Blues Brothers Band. He has also toured annually throughout Japan since 2004.

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, presents a complete, uncut performance from a set at Iridium Jazz Club in 2009. His forth album, Three Wishes, recorded with his trio, was also released on Summit Records in 2012.

Besides leading his group, Nobuki has been playing solo frequently since his solo concert at the Montreal International Jazz Festival as part of 100% Guitare in 2009. He recorded his first solo guitar album one month prior to his Europe tour in August 2014. Vintage Guitar Magazine commented on this album: ”Takamen is a master. Beautiful solo guitar”.

In 2016, Nobuki released his sixth album, Live in Japan. This 2-disc album was recorded live during his tour in his native country in 2015, with his long-time musical collaborators, Toshiyuki Tanahashi on bass and Naoki Aikawa on drums. Mark Sullivan of AllAboutJazz remarked of this trio music: ”This is jazz guitar trio music at its finest”. 

In 2018, Nobuki released his eponymous 7th album, The Nobuki Takamen Trio, which received 5-star review from AllAboutJazz, recorded with the same trio as his previous live album. His original compositions from this album were played more than 400,000 times on Spotify in less than 6 months from its release. One of his compositions from the album, Helsingin taivas (Helsinki Sky) received the first prize of the Instrumental Category in the 2019 USA Songwriting Competition.

His playing and music have been featured in publications worldwide, including DownBeat, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar, AllAboutJazz, L.A.Jazz 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 has been very passionate about music education. His diverse teaching experiences include jazz workshop at the Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia, the Medicine Hat Jazz Fest, C-Jazz Camp at the Calgary Jazz Festival in Canada, and the Santo Music Street in Japan. When not on tour, he teaches private lessons at his studio in Jersey City, NJ as well as via Skype from anywhere in the world.

Nobuki is currently working on promoting his new album, ‘’Life is Now’’ and booking tours to support the release of his 8th release.

ENDORSEMENTS: 
Acoustic Image Amplifiers / Raezer’s Edge Speaker Cabinets / ZT Amplifiers / Eventide / Sommer Cables / Reunion Blues

REVIEWS:

”the best jazz guitarist Japan has ever produced.”
– AllAboutJazz (5 stars)

”a mature player with keen sense of composition [and] considerable technical skill.” 
– Vintage Guitar Magazine

”an excellent improviser in his own bop-inspired style.”
– Scott Yanow (The Author of ”The Great Jazz Guitarists”)

”… Jim Hall meets Wes Montgomery on their way to a Kenny Burrell show…”
– Critical Jazz

FESTIVALS & VENUES:

Montreal International Jazz Festival (Canada)
Rochester International Jazz Festival (USA)
Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Canada)
DC Jazz Festival (USA)
Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz (USA)
Riverview Jazz Festival (USA)
Jersey City Jazz Festival (USA)
Medicine Hat Jazz Fest (Canada)
Jazz YYC Summer Jazz Fest (Canada)
Calgary Jazz Festival (Canada)
Lethbridge Jazz & Blues Festival (Canada)
JazzVez (Croatia)
Nisville Jazz Festival (Serbia)
Petrovac Jazz Fest (Montenegro)
Techno Jazz Festival (Japan)
Santo Music Street (Japan)

Iridium Jazz Club (New York, NY)
Blue Note (New York, NY)
Smalls Jazz Club (New York, NY)
Bar Next Door (New York, NY)
Blues Alley (Washington, D.C.)
Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre (Medicine Hat, Canada)
Martha Cohen Theatre (Calgary, Canada)
ECU (Paris, France)
iF Cafe (Budapest, Hungary)
Malmitalo (Helsinki, Finland)
Tokyo TUC (Tokyo, Japan)