Jamming with a church organist

Four years ago, our visiting organist, Hyunju Hwang, had heard about a live jam session happening every Thursday night at the Hilton Pasadena and decided to check it out. She was very curious to learn what kind of music-making could happen with the premise that anyone could join in the jam session and amazingly, some great music ensued. One person really stood out to her — jazz percussionist Tsugumi Shikano, because “first of all his being Asian (Japanese), and secondly, because he was such a fantastic musician.” At the end of the evening, she went up to him and asked him, “How would you like to jam with a church organist?”

A few days later, he met her at her church, Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, CA, to which he had brought a small drum set. They put together the first movement of Johannes Matthias Michel’s “Organ Timbrel and Dance,” and were so pleased with the results that Hyunju learned the second and third movements. It is these pieces which will be on tomorrow’s concert (March 22) at Central Union Church, 2:00 pm. Since then, Hyunju has arranged jazz versions of several Christmas carols, and hopes to do a complete Christmas jazz organ concert someday.

Tsugumi Shikano started playing drums in Japan. He came to the United States to further his drumming skills at the LAMA College for Music Professionals (now called the Los Angeles College of Music). While there, he studied with, among others, Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphrey, Steve Pemberton and Aaron Serfaty. Tsugumi actively performs with several ensemble groups around Los Angeles including Winston Raval & the Vanishing Tribe, Richard Halpern and the Blue Serenades Orchestra, Dutch Newman & the Musical Melodians, Phil Crosby Jr & the Golden Age Orchestra, Hyunju Hwang Organ Duo and many more. Also Tsugumi performs in major venues in Southern California with many bands such as Cicada Club, Queen Mary, The Culver Hotel, Skyroom, Catalina Jazz Club, Blue Whale, and Yoshi’s San Francisco.

Here’s the article that appeared in yesterday’s Star-Advertiser newspaper: (Thank you to Steven Mark who interviewed me!)

Article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 20, 2015.

Article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, March 20, 2015.

And here is a picture of the AGO Executive Board with Hyunju and Tsugumi at the “meet and greet” party I had last night at my condo:

AGO Board Executive Board and visiting artists

AGO Board Executive Board and visiting artists. Front row (L-R): Elizabeth Wong, Hyunju Hwang, Tsugumi Shikano. Back row: Margaret Lloyd, Karl Bachman, Samuel Lam, Katherine Crosier

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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