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Jason Okamoto: Bio

 

a short biography

I was born in SE Portland, Oregon and grew up with the help of two great parents, Bonnie and Isao.  Along the way, my big sister Kris and our cat Ichiban kept me company.  Although my parents weren't musicians, they always quietly encouraged me to pursue my interests, which eventually included playing the acoustic guitar.  At that point in my life, I already had more than enough teachers.  Rather than add one more, I thought I'd try teaching myself. 

In my early 20's, I started to play in bands.  I played mostly electric guitar in all sorts of bands.  I had fun and did most of the things you should do when you are in your early 20's and playing in bands.  Fortunately, I kept listening and learning.

Now that I'm a little older, I have my own place in SE Portland.  My musical projects are a variety of solo guitar performances, gigging with gypsy jazz bands, and teaching guitar lessons.   The past few years, I've concentrated mostly on solo guitar, building up a diverse repertoire of Spanish, Brazilian Bossa Nova, and other Latin American guitar styles.  I've also been involved recently with some amazing dance projects such as Body Vox's "Smoke Soup" production, and I had a chance to accompany modern Burlesque dancer Lily Verlaine at the Beaux-Arts Ball at the Portland Art Museum.  Between all these projects and gigs, my life stays pretty busy.  I'm still my own teacher, and somehow I haven't fired myself yet.

 Nowadays, when I  have some free time, I'll most likely be sitting in my living room, working my way through a Spanish Classical piece, and my dog Stella will be doing the best job she can at quiet encouragement.