Friday Night Live: Erena Terakubo

FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE presents Erena Terakubo and her saxophone accompanied by Akiko Tsuruga on the organ, Paul Bollenback on the guitar, and Fukushi Tainaka on drums. This concert was livestreamed to the Consulate General of Japan in New York's official Facebook and Youtube pages on Friday, January 22nd.

For future livestreams check out @JapanConsNY on Facebook:


Erena Terakubo

Erena Terakubo was born in Sapporo, Japan. She began playing the alto saxophone at the age of nine. Terakubo was influenced by artists such as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, and Sonny Stitt. In 2010, she released her first album, "North Bird" with Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, Lee Pearson, and Peter Bernstein, through the major Japanese label King Records. It reached No. 1 on the Japanese jazz charts and was awarded Swing Journal's Gold Disc. Later that year, she performed with Ron Carter, Omar Hakim, and Will Boulware at the Tokyo Jazz Festival. In 2011, Terakubo recorded her second album, "New York Attitude" with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Lee Pearson, and Dominick Farinacci. In the same year, she received a presidential scholarship from Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2015. She moved to New York in the same year. Terakubo has performed with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Vincent Herring, Christian McBride, John Beasley's Monk'estra, Lewis Nash, and Lenny White just to name a few. In addition, Terakubo has toured around the globe as a leader including Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and the Middle East. Terakubo has released 6 albums.

Akiko Tsuruga
Organist Akiko Tsuruga is an accomplished composer and extraordinary performer who has received high accolades from saxophonist Lou Donaldson, calling her “The Queen of the Organ”. Organist Dr. Lonnie Smith says “Akiko’s playing is like watching a flower blooming and a bird spreading her wings in the music world. Akiko is here to stay.” Tsuruga’s playing complements fellow musicians on stage to sound as good as possible, sharing a common joy, and an intensely positive energy for great musical experiences. Akiko’s style is light, and can shift from playing funky boogaloo to be-bop to blues. Tsuruga has played in Lou Donaldson’s band since 2007 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, The Village Vanguard, and Dizzy’ Club. Akiko began playing the organ at the age of 3, and includes organists Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, and her mentor and teacher, Dr Lonnie Smith as influences. Tsuruga has 10 recordings as a leader and ranks as one of today’s top organists. Tsuruga is selected 2020 Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll Rising Star Organ. She is the real deal.

Fukushi Tainaka
Master drum player Fukushi Tainaka is one of the best-known Japanese jazz musicians of his generation and one of the most in-demand drum players on the international jazz scene. A longtime member of legendary alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson's group, Fukushi played alongside countless other prominent jazz artists, including trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Hardman and Woody Shaw, guitarist George Benson and Randy Johnston, pianist Champian Fulton, Benny Green, Barry Harris, and Junior Mance, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, saxophonist Arnett Cobb, Junior Cook, Kenny Garrett, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, David" Fathead"' Newman and Frank Wess. During the past two decades, Fukushi has performed in most New York jazz venues, including Birdland, Black Duck, The Blue Note, Garage, Fat Cat, Smoke, Smalls, The Village Vanguard (and defunct clubs such as Sweet Basil), as well as playing at major concert halls, jazz clubs, and festivals all over the world. Fukushi's jazz festival appearances include New York's prestigious JVC Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center Outdoors, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Philadelphia Jazz Festival, the Cape May Jazz Festival, the Iowa Jazz Workshop, the Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals, as well as major European and Japanese jazz festivals. Fukushi has toured Japan as often as three times a year since the early 1980s with his own groups, as a member of the acclaimed pianist Shizuko Yokoyama's trio, and with Lou Donaldson and other jazz greats. Since the mid-80s, Fukushi has also toured Europe twice every year with Lou Donaldson, appearing at jazz clubs and festivals in European countries. His recording history includes two hit CDs with Lou Donaldson, also appearing in his longtime musical partner Shizuko Yokoyama's album My Mother, and dozens of other recordings from various Japanese jazz labels.

Paul Bollenback
Paul Bollenback started his career in music in 1981, and has performed as a sideman with a wide range of jazz luminaries, including artists as diverse as Stanley Turrentine, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Steve Gadd, Gary Bartz, David “Fathead” Newman, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Bennie Wallace, Joe Locke, Jack McDuff, James Moody, Jim Snidero, Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, Paul Bley, Geoffrey Keezer, Mike LeDonne, Pat Bianchi, Carol Sloane, Gary Thomas, Grady Tate, and in the group East Meets Jazz with the renowned tabla virtuoso Sandip Burman, to name a few. He is known for his versatility, and also for an influential 20 year stint with jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. Bollenback performs on over 80 recordings as a sideman, and has released 8 CD’s as a leader. A busy performance schedule has been augmented since the late ’90’s by steady jazz education duties at Columbia University, Queens College, and The New School. Bollenback is also a composer, who’s pieces have appeared on Joey DeFrancesco’s “Reboppin’” and on the “Jazz Times Superband” CD. His most recent recording, “Portraits in Space and Time” (Mayimba Music), with his trio, was released in 2014. Paul Bollenback resides in the New York City area.