BERKELEY – Acclaimed jazz drummer Akira Tana and the Secret Agent Band featuring jazz organist Akiko and vocalist Annie Sellick will headline the entertainment at the 66th annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival on Sunday, May 17, at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple.
The two-day bazaar and arts festival, which is the major fundraiser for the temple, will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 16, and from 12 noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 17. The temple is located at 2121 Channing Way.
The entertainment, which is free, will also feature George Yoshida’s J-Town Jazz Ensemble, Cal Raijin Taiko and Jiten Daiko. Returning as host will be comedian Josef Anolin of Oakland.
“We welcome everyone to our 66th annual Satsuki Bazaar and Arts Festival,” said Ron Hiraga, co-president of the temple. “Please join us for a weekend of great entertainment, delicious food and a memorable time at the temple.”
The bazaar will feature a variety of Japanese, Hawaiian and Asian foods, including sushi, udon, loco moco, kalua pork, curry rice and shave ice as well as American fare such as hot dogs, barbecued steaks, hamburgers and portobello mushroom burgers.
The event will also feature a silent auction, arts and crafts, games for children and homemade baked goods.
Akira Tana, son of the late Berkeley Buddhist Temple minister Rev. Daisho Tana, has established himself as one of the most sought-after drummers on the international jazz scene. He has worked with Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims, Hubert Laws, Art Farmer, Lena Horne, Charles Aznavour, The Manhattan Transfer, and Van Dyke Parks, and has appeared on more than 150 recordings.
Jazz organist Akiko, a mainstay on the New York jazz scene since 2001, has performed at jazz festivals and jazz clubs worldwide, including tours of Europe and Japan. In 2012, she ranked sixth in Downbeat magazine’s Rising Star category and has released five albums in Japan and four in the U.S.
Jazz vocalist Annie Sellick of Nashville has been compared to the greats, including Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae and Betty Carter. But she is undeniably an original and there is nothing shy or demure about Sellick’s control – of the stage, the music, her sound and her audience.
George Yoshida’s J-Town Jazz Ensemble got its start in the early 1990s and members largely came from the Bay Area’s Nisei and Sansei musician community. Some of the members, including Yoshida, played in the internment camps during World War II. The band’s music is drawn largely from the music of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Harry James, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman and Count Basie.
The band has performed at various events in the Japanese American community, including several Day of Remembrance programs in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and continues to perform at the annual Kimochi Awards program held at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema in San Francisco’s Japantown.
Yoshida, the band’s leader, passed away last year. In honor of him and his inspiration, the band will always be known as George Yoshida’s J-Town Jazz Ensemble.
Cal Rajin Taiko, also known as “those drummers on Sproul,” is UC Berkeley’s first taiko group. Established in 2005, it had its debut at Cal Day in April 2006.
Jiten Daiko is a young Bay Area Japanese taiko ensemble that is an affiliate member of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Asian American Donor Program, a community-based nonprofit in Alameda that is dedicated to increasing the availability of potential stem cell donors for patients with life-threatening diseases.
For more information, visit the temple website at www.berkeleysangha.org.