Taiyaki’s waltz – Oyoge Taiyakikun theme
Rika Hattori (Sax)
Kotaro Hiramitsu (Pf)
Shotaro Kaji (Ba)
Takuya “B” Arakawa (Per)
Shota Asai (Ds)
Alto, Soprano Sax
Composer & Arranger
Rika Hattori studied classical piano during her childhood, for twelve years. She started playing alto saxophone at the age of fifteen.
Hattori entered Nagoya University of Art (NUA), studying jazz from Manteru Nonoda. While attending university, Rika joined the uni’s jazz big band ‘Jamba Swing Orchestra’, becoming Concertmistress. She won the Soloist Prize at the Tokai Inter College Competition, with the same band.
After graduating from NUA, Rika Hattori started her professional career and now actively performs as a member of various Big Band/Small Jazz Combo Bands in the Tokai area of Japan. She also started her own band ‘RH Sextet’, which plays her original songs.
Jazz pianist, Kotaro Hiramitsu, was born in Togo, Japan. He started to play classical piano during his childhood. As a college student at Gifu University, he joined the New Stars Jazz Orchestra, Liebe Parze. This introduced him to the world of jazz. His teacher was Shuhei Mizuno.
In 2009, Kotaro started his career as a jazz pianist in the Tokai area of Japan. He won the 2012 Kanazawa Jazz Street Competition, and has been invited to perform in jazz festivals in Korea and China.
In recent years , he also performs jazz organ, his performance constantly evolving .
He released two CDs with his own group ’Straight Line’.
Furthermore, Kotaro works with many talented musicians and holds jam sessions in Nagoya. His colorful and vigorous sound and delicate phrasing is acknowledged among musicians and his audience. Since 2015, Kotaro is an organizer and executive committee member of the “Jazz Connection in Nagoya” jazz festival.
Shotaro Kaji started playing classical guitar when he was in junior-high. When he was a high school student, he switched his instrument to electric bass and played in a couple of rock bands.
He entered Nagoya University of Art (NUA) studying basic technique and music theory. He was also deeply influenced by soul music at that time.
Since graduating NUA, Shotaro takes part in both major and indie artists concerts and recordings, in addition to playing at live sessions of jazz, funk, latin, gospel and various other genres.
Takuya “B” Arakawa
Takuya Arakawa started playing drumset in his school’s big band, at the age of twelve. He discovered Cuban percussion at sixteen and teaching himself percussion, played in the ‘Free Hills Jazz Orchestra’, as percussionist.
He entered Nagoya University of Art (NUA) studying music theory from Manteru Nonoda, and playing technique from Calros Sugano, Yoshihiko Miza, and Ruben Figueroa.
After graduating from NUA, Takuya Arakawa started his professional career and now actively performs nationwide. He formed his own bands ‘B-Style’ and ‘B-Style Big Band’ , which play Cuban music, besides supporting various artists and also participating in various events and sessions.
Shota Asai started playing drums at the age of eleven. He studied playing drumset from Takashi Ito at Yamaha Popular Music School. He joined the school brass band when he was in Junior-High/High School.
Asai entered Nagoya College of Music(NCM) in 2007. He studied jazz drum from Kazuyoshi Kuroda and classical percussion from Tomoyuki Okada, Yasunori Yamaguchi, and Yukie Kurihara.
He has been performing as a member of a classical percussion ensemble in Taiwan on a regular basis since 2010.
After graduating NCM, Asai joined the Centrum Jazz Workshop and studied jazz from Jay Thomas, Gary Smulyan, and Quincy Davis.
Since returning to Japan, Shota takes an active part in both live performances and recordings in the Tokai area of Japan. He is also a drum/percussion instructor.