Aimee and Heday
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Aimee and Heday

Band Jazz Acoustic

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Aug
29
Aimee and Heday @ Bobby London

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

Aug
25
Aimee and Heday @ Bobby London

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

Aug
22
Aimee and Heday @ Bobby London

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Music

Press


By Sylvia L.Oliande

Valencia - A CalArts student has won the Best Jazz Soloist-College Award presented by Down Beat Magazine. Hideaki Tokunaga,28, said he didn't find out he had won until he picked up a copy of the monthly magazine and saw his name in it. "I thought they'd at least call me or somehow notify me"

He said he was surprised that he'd received the awards, which he won for a recording of jazz standards, including a track on a CalArts compact disc. "I know many other great musicians at scholol," he said. "I felt like they had not turned in their work or they would have won. I'm not being modest; that's just fact."

David Roitstein, director of the CalArts jazz program, said Tokunaga was being modest. "He's a great musician, a really serious musician, and I was glad to hear that he had won. Whennever he's around you always know something good is going to happen." Roisten added that the awards is prestigious in that students from over the world submit their work and the pieces are judged by internationally known musicians, "who know what they are listening to." What it means is more recognition for his work on a really high level," he added.

Tokunaga said he has been playing the guitar for 16 years. He learned the instrument from his mother, a music teacher in his native in Japan. His family, due to his mother's influence, was very musically inclined, beginning with his older brother and sister, who are about 10 years his senior.

My mother taught them to play classical music and they hated it. When I was born, my father told her not to teach me," Tokunaga said. Obviously, she ignored his request, which is why he believes he stuck with the instrument when his siblings gave it up.

He grew up listening to rhythm and blues and popular Japanese music, and eventually started getting into jazz. Tokunaga said he came to the United States in 1985 and settles in New York, playing restaurants and with an organization called Music Under New York, which arranged for musicians to play in subways. After getting married, he follwed his wife, a movie sound engineer, to Hollywood.

He said he had heard about CalArts in New York and was glad to receive scholarship to study there. "There were a lot of talented musicians in New York that had come here. I heard good things about it." he said. Also, two students involed in CalArts' Community Arts Partnership won awards from Down Beat the Outstanding Jazz Instrumental Soloist-Performing Arts High School category.

Anand Bennett and Dante Pascuzzo won for recordings done while they attended Los Angeles High School of Performing Arts. Bennett is now currently a CalArts student and Pascuzzo has been accepted to the music program, Roistein said. - Signal


By James J. Rodriguez

Valencia - Ten years ago, at age 19, Hideaki Tokunaga packed his belongings and ventured to the United States with a dream - to gain fame playing jazz. The native of Osaka,Japan, realized that at home his opportunities would be limited. After all, the guitarist said, the Japanese often book U.S. musicians to play overseas and offer them generous salaries. "In Japan, there are great musicians, but not many people pay attention to them," said the California Institute of the Arts student who graduated in June. "The one thing about my country is they love jazz musicians. But they won't invest money toward the talent in Japan." Just as he had hoped, Tokunaga, now 29, hasn't gone unnoticed in the United States.

Recently he was named best college jazz soloist by Down Beat magazine, a Chicago-based jazz publication that boasts a worldwide, monthly circulation of 90,000. Tokunaga was selected among nearly 5,000 junior high, senior high and college musicians who entered their recorded tracks, according to Frank Alkyer, editorial director for the magazine, known as "the godfather of American music magazines" in the industry. More than 500 schools from across the nation entered the competition, and Tokunaga was one of 75 winners announced in the magazine's May 1995 edition.

"It's a huge deal," Alkyer said. "I can't begin to tell you how prestigious this is. A lot of these guys will go on to have solo careers. This is like a steppingstone. It's a feather in their cap." Many well-known music professors, such as Indiana University Professor David Baker, known as "the godfather of jazz education," judge the student tapes and determine the winners, Alkyer said. He said the winners are regarded very highly by many in the industry who read the magazine.

And Tokunaga said he is already feeling that benefit. "After I got this award," he said, "I started getting good gigs." Some of his gigs have included the famous 1950's-style steak house, Chadney's in Burbank; the Miramar Sheraton Hotel's Grille in Santa Monica and other highly frequented jazz clubs. "I'm very happy, Tokunaga said recently from his Santa Monica residence. "I would have never experienced such an award in Japan."

What he likes best about being a jazz guitarist are the jam sessions, those performances with other jazz musicians creating an atmosphere similar to the swing sessions popular in the 1930's and 1940's. He idolizes such jazz greats as Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. Larry Koonse was Tokunaga's music instructor at the college. He described the former student as self-motivating and always wanting to learn from other musicians.

"This awards is well-deserved," Koonse said. "He has been dedicated to pursuing his study of jazz for a long time. I wasn't surprised. I was glad for him. It's nice to have a spot in a publication like that." Tokunaga attended CalArts from 1991 to 1995 through the Chales Mingus Scholarship and graduated with bachelor's degree in music. He hopes to attend the Santa Clarita college to earn his master's degree. "But I'm having some financial problems, so I might not be able to go back," a dejected Tokunaga said. - Daily News


Discography

Aimee Nolte : Up Til Now
Hideaki Heday Tokunaga :The Wind Told Me
Hideaki Heday Tokunaga :Midnight Rainbow
Hideaki Heday Tokunaga : Adios Plaza (DVD)
Hideaki Heday Tokunaga : Live at Plaza de la Raza

Photos

Bio

Heday received Master's Degree in Music from CalArts in 1997. During his school years, he had the honor of winning the Best Jazz College Soloist (U.S.A. and Canada) from Down Beat Magazine. Prior to attending CalArts, he had five years experience as a street musician in New York.

After receiving the DB Award, Tokunaga contracted with MIDI Records distributed by Universal Music Japan. He was nominated for Jazz Embassador from US Government and JFK Center.

Aimee is originally from Northern California area and she spent her college years in Utah. After her graduation, she moved NY City and established her style to fit in a modern jazz scene in NY. She moved again in 1990's to Los Angeles area, her superb voice and unique piano technique captured Heday's duo project.

In 2007 Aimee and Heday started playing at small jazz venues in Los Angeles and appearing as guest artist for recording scene. You can check Aimee and Heday locally in Los Angeles area and/or video clip attached to this page.