From New York:
Miles Okazaki – Guitar
Dan Weiss – Drums/Percussion
Miles Okazaki, the son of a painter and photographer, grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the small waterfront city of Port Townsend. After a childhood of immersion in visual arts, he picked up the guitar the age of six, and remains a primarily self-taught musician. As a teenager, he was recognized with awards for exceptional achievements in Music, Visual Arts, and Mathematics.
Okazaki’s formal studies were at Harvard University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School. He has pursued a variety of subjects, including Visual Arts, Literature and Language, Mathematics, and Music. His main teachers on guitar are Michael Townsend (Port Townsend) and Rodney Jones (New York). Okazaki has toured and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Stanley Turrentine, Lenny Pickett, Samir Chatterjee, Jen Shyu, Dan Weiss, David Binney, and others. His technique on guitar is the result of several areas of study; improvisation from the jazz tradition, classical and brazilian fingerstyle techniques, and the transcription of music to the guitar from other instruments. His compositional approach involves the investigation of fundamental ideas about melody, form, and rhythm in diverse musical traditions; he has studied South Indian music under percussionist Ganesh Kumar for many years, absorbed the history of the American Popular Songbook as a long-time member of the Jane Monheit group, and continues to practice visual art and other disciplines that provide material for musical forms.
Recently, Okazaki has focused primarily on composing and studying improvisational concepts. In 2006, he recorded his debut album, Mirror, funding this project with his winnings as second-place finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. This album, called ‘a work of sustained collectivity as well as deep intricacy’ in a New York Times ‘critics pick,’ won a ‘New Works’ grant from Chamber Music America to produce a second volume of compositions. This project became Generations, on Sunnyside Records. Currently Okazaki plays guitar for many groups, including Steve Coleman and Five Elements, and is working on several new commissions, including a new ensemble work for the French-American Jazz Exchange program, music for classical guitar, and a new suite of compositions for his third album.
Dan Weiss started playing the drums at the age of 6 and has studied privately since he began. His main teacher as a child and teenager was Jeff Krause. While in high school Weiss studied classical piano and classical composition. He studied drums and composition at the Manhattan School of Music. His drum teacher was John for 4 years and his composition teacher was David Noon. Dan also studied frame drums with Jamey Hadaad.
Weiss has performed and or recorded with David Binney, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, Miguel Zenon, Wayne Krantz, Kenny Werner, Ritchie Beirach, Ben Monder, Uri Caine, Village Vanguard Orchestra, Ravi Coltrane and many others. He has been touring Europe and North America extensively for the past seven years with many different projects. Weiss has also played in South America and Asia and has recorded for Omnitone, Fresh Sound/New Talent, Arabesque, Pi, Criss cross, Between the Lines, Act, Hat Hut, and Auand record labels.
Weiss has been studying tabla for the last nine years exclusively under the guidance of his guru Pandit Samir Chatterjee. He has performed classical Indian music in India and the United States, with Ramesh Mishra, Mandira Lahiri, Subra Guha, Anoushka Shankar, Joyas Biswas, K.V. Mahabala and Steve Gorn. He has also performed in recitals with his teacher in Kolkatta, India.
Weiss has two recordings under his own name. One is a solo recording which contains traditional tabla repertoire adapted to the drumset in a classical manner. His most recent recording is a trio cd which includes Jacob Sacks on piano and Thomas Morgan on bass, a recording which features his compositions. Weiss is also involved in a ‘doom’ heavy metal band called ‘Bloody Panda’ whose record comes out early 2007. He also plans to record his duo drum project with Ari Hoenig in mid February.
Weiss will also start contributing articles to modern drummer dealing with Indian rhythm and its applicability to western contexts. He has self published a book entitled ‘Tintal Drumset Trancriptions.’ He has given clinics all over the United States as well as Canada and Europe. He has a loyal base of students in the New York area.