The Full Story
Isamu was born into a musical family in Los Angeles, California on September 5, 1989. To find out what other cool things happened on that exact day, click here! (Isamu regrets that Paula Abdul had a Number-One hit on the day of his birth, and he promises that it in no way influenced his musical upbringing)
He began taking classical piano lessons at the age of 5, and continued to do so for the next 10 years. While he was in middle school, Isamu's dad brought home a "jazz" CD - Greg Mathieson's "Live at the Baked Potato", featuring Michael Landau, Abraham Laboriel and Vinnie Colaiuta. It took a while for Isamu to believe his dad when he was told that this was "jazz". In his mind, jazz was the mainstream stuff you heard on the radio - swingin', straight ahead, old-school. But this was crazy and loud, rhythmic and obscenely groovy! It was this record in particular that piqued his interest in the inherent possibilities of jazz music.
Over the course of his four years at high school, Isamu eventually switched from classical piano to jazz full-time. His classical training, along with a strong ear, helped him progress rapidly, both as a player and a composer. Musical influences from these years are all over the map, from Art Tatum to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Herbie Hancock to Led Zeppelin to Lenny Kravitz to Rage Against the Machine (for those more intimate moments). It was this fusion of so many different musical interests that helped Isamu begin to shape his unique sound on the piano.
In 2007, Isamu moved to New York City to study jazz at New York University. Immersing himself in the jazz mecca of the world was a humbling and influential experience, and it inspired him to go shed! He honed his craft under the tutelage of a number of great musicians, including Jean-Michel Pilc, Wayne Krantz, Chris Potter, Francesco Bearzatti, Greg Burk, Tony Moreno and Andy Milne.
Since then, Isamu has been touring constantly with many different artists, performing in over 30 countries: USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.