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Thus far pianist Kei Akagi is best-known as a sideman but his list of credits and versatility are certainly quite impressive. Born in Japan, Akagi lived in Cleveland during a large part of his childhood (from age five-twelve) before returning to Japan. He started classical piano lessons when he was five but was soon also interested in pop and rock music. Back in Japan, Akagi studied philosophy and music, playing piano at high school dances and with his college band. When he was 22 he returned to the U.S., originally to work on his doctorate in philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Within a month he was playing a gig with Bobby Bryant and Blue Mitchell and within two years Akagi had switched permanently to music. He spent most of 1979-85 as a member of a band co-led by Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Since then Kei Akagi's associations have included Joe Farrell, James Newton, Allan Holdsworth, Jean-Luc Ponty, two years with Al DiMeola, Miles Davis (1989-91) and Stanley Turrentine. He recorded a 1992 CD for Moo/Bluemoon and has long been a fixture in the Los Angeles area. His album roster includes 1991's Playroom, 1994's Mirror Puzzle and 2000's New Smiles & Travelled.
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