''Open your mind and enjoy drumming!”

A player with remarkable technical skill and energy, Akira Jimbo has in recent years become the first Japanese drum set artist to achieve worldwide acclaim on the clinic circuit. His amazing ambidexterity and musical command of both acoustic and electronic sounds always brings the house down.

Akira came to fame with the four-piece Japanese jazz-fusion band Casiopea. Casiopea was formed in 1979 by guitarist Issei Noro, keyboardist Minoru Mukaiya, bassist Tetsuo Sakurai and drummer Takashi Sasaki. The band released its first album in May of 1979, a high-energy fusion of jazz and funk augmented by a horn section consisting of top American stars Michael and Randy Brecker and David Sanborn. Akira took over the drum chair in 1980, appearing on the band’s third album, Thunder Live, the first of several live albums. Akira stayed until the end of the decade, during which time the band toured the world three times, appearing in Europe for the first time in 1983.On first leaving Casiopea in 1989 Akira formed the band Jimsaku. He has since played with Keiko Matsui, Shambara and many others. Over the years he’s released many solo albums, including Cotton (1986), Palette (1991), Slow Boat (1992), and Lime Pie (1994). He’s also to date released four instructional videos entitled Metamorphosis (1992), Pulse (1995), Independence (1998) and Evolution(1999).

Today his solo performances are legendary. Unlike many other clinicians who play along to sequenced backing tracks, Akira is quite capable of playing both acoustic kit and electronic kit simultaneously in real time to create amazing, complete pieces of music.Recently , a drum clinic by him was organised by  Yamaha music India at the ICCR, Kolkata.

pic courtesy - www.manager.co.th
You started playing drums at the age of 17. What motivated you  to pick up drums?

Steve Gadd made me play drums. His playing was so amazing. His drumming sounds as if the drums is the main instrument.

How important was it playing for Casiopea in terms of developing  both drumming and composition skills?

I had to write one song at least for one album of casiopea. That was the rule. I’ve started to analyze the songs which I like and got the skill of composition  little by little. Also Casiopea has a lot of tough tunes to play. That helped to develop my drumming skill.

How important is it to develop your own sound?

The sound is the signature of the player. All of my favorite drummers have their own sounds.

pic courtesy - vicfirth.com
What would you say inspires/influences your creativeness?

Everything. Experiences.  Like a trip to India!

There are a few drummers today who seem to be practicing for drum clinic performances and not  for gigs. What is your opinion?

There is no practice only for drum clinic or only for performances. Performances seem to be more important than drum clinics, I like both,though.

What is your approach to drum clinics, do you generally have some sort of set routine  worked out before hand or does it change depending on audience?

I have my set routine for the clinic.  I speak about some topics which I found through my drumming experience.

How was your experience doing the drum clinic here in  Kolkata? 

Great!  People seems to be enjoying.  If I could give them some inspiration, that’s would be wonderful.

What do you feel is the most important piece of drumming advice you could offer other  drummers out there?

I could say one thing. ''Open your mind and enjoy drumming!”

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