It isn’t all done with a drum set, Bass drum at one foot, hi hats at the other and a snare drum between the knees. Bands that want to add more colors, shaping and texture to their music often figure out what Latin bands have known for years, and add a percussionist to their rhythm section.
Among percussionists, Taku Hirano is one of the busiest. I remember a conversation with him, shortly after he graduated from Berklee School of Music: He had a good gig, touring with Kenny Loggins, but was wondering aloud where his next gig would come from.
That conversation could never take place again! In the next few years, Taku toured with Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Isaac Hayes, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and others.
Between tours he was able to fit in recordings with Dr. Dre, Jay Z., Jason Mraz, Josh Groban, Nelly Furtado and the Temptations, as well as with tour mates Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Stevie Nicks and Lionel Ritchie.
In between all of this he has added live performances with Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Usher, Sean “Diddy” Combs, John Mayer, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Le Ann Rimes, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, the Neville Brothers, Wyclef Jean, Travis Tritt, Sheila E., and even the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Cirque de Soleil, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
I’m leaving half of these credits out, just to save time, and haven’t mentioned the writing for two drumming magazines, the remixing and consulting for Kanye west and Trent Reznor, his stature as a teacher, or the production project he has co-founded, Tao of Sound, which has two records out ….so far
With work in every genre of music imaginable, with homes in L.A, New York and New Orleans, Taku is in touch with the heart, substance and spirit of American music.
Listen to the Taku Hirano Podcast
Taku Hirano Playlist
Highland Highline — Tao of Sound
Album: Ronin, 2012
Percussion: Taku Hirano
Belo Horizonte — John McLaughlin Trio
Album: Que Alegria, 1992
Percussion: Trilok Gurtu
Cissy Strut — The Meters
Album: The Meters, 1969
Drums: Zigaboo Modeliste
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough — Michael Jackson
Album: Off The Wall, 1979
Drums: John “JR” Robinson
Percussion: Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Richard Heath, Paulinho Da Costa
Se Le Ve — Batacumbele
Album: Con Un Poco De Songo, 1980
Drums: Ignacio Berroa
Percussion: Giovanni Hidalgo
Go Your Own Way — Lindsey Buckingham
Live concert track
Drums: Taku Hirano