Kei Akagi & Friends

Faculty Artist Series

Kei Akagi & Friends

Kei Akagi, piano
Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi
Darek Oles, bass
Jason Harnell, drums


February 16 & 17, 2018

8:00 pm

Winifred Smith Hall

Jazz pianist and composer Kei Akagi will be joined by colleagues Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi), Darek Oles (bass), and Jason Harnell (drums) for an evening of original works. This trio has been together for over 25 years, and seamlessly incorporates the full spectrum of traditional and experimental jazz. The group will be joined for this concert by fellow improviser Kojiro Umezaki on shakuhachi, performing music from a recent recording collaboration and album release.  

There will be two sets with a short intermission.

Selections will be announced from stage.

General $19
Seniors, Groups 10+, UCI Faculty & Staff $16
UCI Students & Children under 17 $6

Shuttle services will begin one hour before showtime and will meet patrons on Level Two (Mesa Road street level) of the Mesa Parking Structure, by the elevator. Advance notice is appreciated, but not required.  For additional information, please call the Arts Box Office (949) 824-2787 or email  (Schedules are subject to change. See posted schedule at

About the artists:

KEI AKAGI (piano)

Pianist and composer Kei Akagi has been a mainstay of the international jazz world for four decades. Perhaps best known for his work as a member of the Miles Davis band in the late 1980’s, his career also includes extended associations with major figures such as Stanley Turrentine, James Newton, Joe Farrell, Al DiMeola, and Airto Moreira. He has also performed or recorded with Art Pepper, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Charnett Moffett, Tom Harrell, Bobby Shew, Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks, Jean-Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, and others.

Akagi has recorded 14 CD’s as a solo artist and leader. As a sideman and accompanist, he is on over 60 CD’s worldwide, including Miles Davis’ last recorded works. He has also written numerous original works for his own and others’ recordings, with over 80 compositions currently in publication.

Akagi’s performance schedule revolves around two major international concert tours a year. As Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine, he oversees the jazz studies program, teaching jazz history, theory and composition, jazz piano, and performance. He is also a recipient of the distinguished title of UCI Chancellor’s Professor.

KOJIRO UMEZAKI (shakuhachi)

Noted by The New York Times as a “virtuosic, deeply expressive shakuhachi player and composer,” Kojiro Umezaki performs regularly with the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble, appearing on multiple recordings including Sing Me Home, A Playlist Without Borders, Off the Map, and the 2015 documentary film, The Music of Strangers, directed by Morgan Neville. Other recordings with his work have been released on Brooklyn Rider’s Dominant Curve; Yo-Yo Ma’s Appassionato; Beat in Fractions’ Beat Infraction; The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways); and Huun Huur Tu’s Ancestors Call. His latest solo album of mostly original works, (Cycles), was released in 2014.

Born to a Japanese father and Danish mother, Umezaki grew up in Tokyo and is a performer of the shakuhachi, a composer of electro-acoustic works, and a technologist with interests in integrating global musical practices with electronics. He is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine and a core member of the Integrated Composition Improvisation and Technology (ICIT) faculty.


Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz, native of Poland, residing in California since 1988, has performed at prestigious festivals and recorded with many jazz artists. His first recording as a leader "Like A Dream" with Brad Mehldau was released on CD by Cryptogramophone Records in 2004 and gained critical acclaim worldwide. In 2005 Darek was voted the "Best Acoustic Bassist" in the Jazz Top readers poll in Jazz Forum European Magazine. More recently his collaborative projects include Bennie Maupin, Chris Potter, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, Ernie Watts and Larry Koonse. He is the instructor of bass for the jazz area of the UCI Music Dept.


Jason Harnell is a world renowned jazz drummer, educator, composer and bandleader who's unmistakable sound and style, as well as his boundless creativity and enthusiasm have made him a major contributor to the Southern California jazz scene for over twenty five years.  

Jason is consistently creative and swinging whether playing straight ahead jazz or free explorations. He has performed, recorded and toured with many of the world's top jazz musicians including Larry Goldings, Bob Sheppard, Dave Douglas, Larry Koonse, Alan Ferber, Kate McGarry, Steve Cardenas, Ben Wendel, Rick Margitza, Alan Pasqua, Walter Smith III, Joe Bagg, Kei Akagi, Darek Oles & Maynard Ferguson. Jason is also the co-leader of four separate critically acclaimed original bands including, JoE-LeSs ShOe, 3-ish, Sigmund Fudge, GO SHLOMO! and recently joined the long established, Los Angeles Jazz Quartet. He is the instructor of jazz drums for the UCI Music Dept.

In 2017,  Jason launched his most ambitious and creative endeavor to date, the Jason Harnell Solo Drum Experience. Jason’s solo drum concerts are consistently sold out, multi media events that tantalize the senses and explore rhythm, sight and sound in a completely unique way.