Claire Trevor School of the Arts
B.A., International Christian University
Phone: (949) 824-2171
Fax: (949) 824-4914
University of California, Irvine
303 Music and Media Building
Irvine, CA 92697
Piano, Jazz Theory, Director Jazz Chamber Ensembles
Kei Akagi - born March 16, 1953 in Sendai, Japan - spent his childhood years in Cleveland, Ohio, where he trained at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, studying piano, theory, and music history. Returning to Japan in his early teens, he eventually studied philosophy and music composition at International Christian University in Tokyo. Upon graduation he was accepted as a graduate student in the Doctorate Program in Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. While pursuing his studies there, he also found time to compose and orchestrate music for the University jazz band, as well as performing locally in various bands. He turned to music as a full-time professional at the age of twenty-five.
His career includes extended associations with major figures such as Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine, James Newton, Joe Farrell, Al DiMeola, Flora Purim, and Airto Moreira. He has also performed or recorded with Art Pepper, Blue Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Charnett Moffett, Kazumi Watanabe, Tom Harrell, Bobby Shew, Eddie Harris, Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Robin Eubanks, Jeff Watts, Sadao Watanabe, Jean-Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, and others.
As a solo artist and leader, Akagi has recorded 6 CDs, including "Mirror Puzzle" (1994) which has won widespread critical acclaim. A 1998 release, "New Smiles and Traveled Miles", is a tribute to Miles Davis. A seventh CD "Viewpoint", recorded December 1999, was released in May 2000. As a sideman and accompanist, he is on over 30 CDs worldwide, including Miles Davis' last recorded work.
As a composer, Akagi has written numerous original works for his own and others' CDs, with over 30 compositions currently in publication. He has also composed modern piano music, which have been performed internationally by classical pianists. More recently, he has been in demand as an electronic programmer and composer for major international computer music companies. As an arranger, he has been musical director/producer for major jazz groups, including Airto Moreira/Flora Purim (1979 -1985), Joe Farrell (1984 -1985), and Al DiMeola (1986 - 1988).
Akagi's concert schedule revolves around two major international concert tours a year, during which he gives performances at jazz festivals and concerts, leading either a trio or playing solo piano.
He currently resides in Los Angeles, where in addition to his professional activities, he is also Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine, currently teaching jazz theory, jazz history, and performance. He has recently completed a text on jazz theory and composition, which is being used by students at UCI as part of the jazz studies program.