Blu York - Live in NYC
As one of the most in-demand percussionists of his generation, Taku is a musical chameleon onstage and in-studio, whether supporting iconic artists or fronting his own projects. He has worked with everyone from Stevie Nicks to Stevie Wonder, and Dr. Dre to
As one of the most in-demand percussionists of his generation, Taku is a musical chameleon onstage and in-studio, whether supporting iconic artists or fronting his own projects. He has worked with everyone from Stevie Nicks to Stevie Wonder, and Dr. Dre to Dr. John. Rock legends Mick Fleetwood - founder and drummer of Fleetwood Mac - has referred to Taku as his “Secret Weapon” and “not only a master percussionist, but an incredible musician," and Stevie Nicks has said that Taku is "the best percussion player, I think, in the world."
Born in Osaka, Japan and raised in California and Hong Kong, Taku began his musical journey at age 7 with Classical piano, Classical percussion and drum set at age 9, and then added Afro-Cuban and Brazilian hand percussion as a teen.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music as the institution’s first Hand Percussion principal, Taku studied Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, South Indian, Middle Eastern and West African percussion, and was under the tutelage of conga master Giovanni Hidalgo for four years. He also studied with jazz drumming legend Alan Dawson in Boston, studied West African and Indian musical traditions with master percussionists as a World Percussion graduate student at California Institute of the Arts, and conducted a monthlong research trip to Havana through the U.S. Treasury Department, studying at the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (ENA) and at the home of Afro-Cuban percussion pioneer Changuito.
Taku began his career in Los Angeles, working with jazz multi-reedist Bennie Maupin of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters alongside Patrice Rushen and his mentor, legendary session drummer Ndugu Chancler. Within his first 5 years on the L.A. scene, Taku became one of the top-call percussionists in hip hop on both coasts, performing live with Sean “Diddy” Combs and his Bad Boy Entertainment artists Faith Evans, Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige, and for Aftermath Entertainment as Dr. Dre’s go-to studio percussionist on tracks for Nas, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and for Dre himself on his seminal album 2001 (with samples of Taku from 2001 later used by Dre in producing Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2 album).
Taku’s client list has spanned the pinnacles of practically every commercial music genre. He has toured the world with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, John Mayer, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Dr. John, as a soloist on Indian and Japanese percussion for Academy Award-winning Bollywood composer A.R. Rahman’s Slumdog Millionaire “Jai Ho” world tour, as a featured soloist on the #7 top-grossing music tour of all time, “Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour” by Cirque du Soleil and the Michael Jackson Estate, and as a consultant to Trent Reznor for the Nine Inch Nails “Lights In The Sky” world tour. He has performed in major arenas and stadiums in 30 countries across five continents, in Russia as a member of the United Nations/UNESCO International Jazz Day All-Star Band under the direction of Herbie Hancock, twice in South Africa for President Nelson Mandela, and twice at the White House for President Barack Obama (including the Obama-Biden Administration's first State Dinner, honoring His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India).
Taku’s performance credits also include Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, Steven Tyler, Miley Cyrus, Shakira, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran, George Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, John Legend, Andra Day, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, Andrea Bocelli, Yolanda Adams, Blue Man Group, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Taku’s recording credits include Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley, LeAnn Rimes, Josh Groban, Nelly Furtado, and Lionel Richie, in addition to numerous film scores, soundtracks and television shows.
In 2020, Taku signed to Ropeadope Records under the Modern Icon Recordings imprint to showcase his return to jazz. His first single “Come And Get It,” featuring trumpet phenom Keyon Harrold, released in July 2021, followed by the full album "Blu York - Live in NYC" in October 2021.