‘High Jump’ composed by Harutaka Sakita
Harutaka Sakita (Dr)
Rika Hattori (As)
Takahiro Yamasaki (Ts)
Shota Watanabe (Pf)
Eizo Koganezaka (Gt)
Shotaro Kaji (Ba)
Formed in January of 2018, Ultimates is an instrumental band, formed of Nagoya’s up-and-coming jazz musicians. Comprising elements of various genres into their “Listen, Dance and Enjoy!!”style of original music, Ultimates currently perform at live venues.
Harutaka Sakita, was born 1984 in Kobe City, Hyogo, Japan. He was a member of the Konan Brass Ensemble Club of Konan Middle School, where Harutaka’s drum life began. During his middle school days, Harutaka won the Kanto Student Jazz Festival, receiving the Nice Player Award. During his high school years, he played as main drummer, winning the Japan Student Festival for two years running, receiving the Nice Player Award in the second year. While Sakita was still a student, he played alongside many famous musicians such as Sadao Watanabe, Terumasa Hino and Keiko Lee, his drum skill receiving much praise overseas, where he performed in England, France, and the United States.
Harutaka joined the Konan University Jazz Club at Konan University and played as a drummer for the Newport Swing Orchestra. He received the Best Soloist Award in the 36th Yamano Big Band Contest. He started his personal musical career at this time, providing musical support for Jazz combo, Big Band, Fusion bands and indie bands, centering his activities around live houses in the Kansai area of Japan.
After graduating Konan University in 2008, he located to the United States for three months. There, he performed in sessions with world renowned musicians such as Roy Hargrove, Justin Brown, and Joe Sanders, receiving a great musical influence from them. Upon returning to Japan, he formed the “Swing Jam Band” with Ryosuke Asai (As), Takaaki Otomo (P), and Hiroyuki Demiya (B), expanding his musical activities nationwide.
In January 2011, Sakita moved his base of activity to New York, playing drums in the live venues of New York City for various bands. In December of 2011, he participated in the recording for the Ryan Brennan Organ Trio’s album “181”, and became an exclusive artist for Cross Town Records. He attended New York City College in September 2012. However, he resigned from the college the following year in order to focus on his musical career, participating in the Ukraine tours of the Joonsam Lee Trio, in May and the Yuko Okamoto Quartet, in September.
Harutaka Sakita moved back to Japan in 2015, and is now based in Nagoya, performing nationwide in Japan.
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.
Takahiro Yamasaki is a saxophone player based in the Tokai region. He received his first saxophone at the age of thirteen, mastering the basics by himself.
After graduating senior school, he entered the Nagoya University of Arts, intent on becoming a professional musician. Yamasaki began his live concert career in the same year, performing funk, jazz and Latin music at various events in the Tokai area. At the same time, he was also holding his own live performances. Yamasaki also takes part in recordings and stage big bands, etc..
Taking advantage of his strength in formidable acoustic pressure and sense of rhythm, Yamasaki is known for his melodious ad lib.
Takahiro Yamasaki has a trusted reputation, and is involved in the musical training of his juniors, often performing with junior high school students in the Tokai area.
Since beginning his professional career, Yamasaki has often performed alongside famous musicians, the experience having a profound influence on his own development as a musician.
At present, Takahiro Yamasaki performs live concerts with the AUTOBAHN JAZZ ORCHESTRA and M-JOINT, both of which he is also the leader of.
Born 1988, Nagoya, Japan
Starting classical piano from age four, Watanabe grew up with the musical influence of his father, guitarist Norio Watanabe. As a teenager, Watanabe became interested in jazz and in 2003, started to study under Donny Schwekendiek.
Watanabe started performing music in public from 2004, joining the jazz funk band ‘Akamon’ in 2005. From 2009 he devoted himself to playing jazz, participating in many tours with bands such as the Wataru Hamazaki Quartet, Kaoru Tsubakida Quintet, noon and the Hideaki Kanazawa Trio.
In 2010, Watanabe took part in the recording for the album “Once upon the summer time” by Japanese singer “noon”, performing at Tokyo STB, Osaka Billboard and Blue Note Nagoya, on the recording release tour. In 2016, Shota joined Mei Inoue’s Stereo Champ and also recorded for Mononkul’s new album ‘Sekai ha koko ni shika nai tte jouzu ni itte’.
Shota Watanabe currently performs with his own band, in addition to providing musical support in a wide range of music genres to various other artists, mainly in the Tokyo and Nagoya areas of Japan, as well as nationwide.
Born in Nagoya, 1987.
Eizo Koganezaka started playing the guitar at the age of fourteen, and started his musical activities at the age of fifteen, forming his own band. At seventeen, he began to study musical technique centered around jazz and music theory in earnest, from a Jazz guitarist. Building up his musical experience in various genres such as Jazz、Blues、Funk、Soul/R&B、Rock and Pops, by performing in bands, sessions and as a support musician at live concerts, Eizo began his professional music career in 2008.
In the same year, Eizo joined the instrumental band “Act Kadenza”,centered around the music of the tsugaru shamisen. Upon the release of their album, he performed in a Japanese nationwide tour, appeared on Japanese television and radio and also performed overseas in Hawaii on a seven day concert tour.
Eizo currently takes an active part in both major and indie artists concerts and recordings, in addition to his own band, live sessions,Big Band, and musical band support, in places outside of the Nagoya region too.
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.