Gary Fukushima, a native of Seattle, Washington, started formal piano lessons at age eleven, eventually graduating from the University of Washington with degrees in classical piano, jazz studies, and psychology. Upon graduation, he accepted a faculty position with Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, where he taught jazz piano, and he also was a prominent member of the jazz-folk group The Sabella Consort, with tours throughout the country over the course of nearly a decade. In 2003 Gary relocated to Southern California to continue graduate studies with David Roitstein, Wadada Leo Smith, and Charlie Haden at California Institute of the Arts, during which time he was awarded a rare scholarship by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and invited exclusively to perform at the Academy's annual membership luncheon for many muscial heavyweights including Quincy Jones, Elmer Bernstein, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Earth Wind and Fire. Gary recently received a Master of Fine Arts degree from CalArts and soon afterward he was offered and accepted teaching positions at two local colleges, California State University, Los Angeles, and California State University, Northridge. He has also recently been hired by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as a teacher in it's educational program "Jazz in the Classroom" sponsored through the Los Angeles Unified School District Beyond the Bell program. In addition to his college teaching work and maintaining a small private lessons studio, Gary is becoming increasingly active in the local Los Angeles jazz scene, having recorded and performed with many esteemed musicians including Joe La Barbara, Larry Koonse, Roger Cairns, Matt Otto, Darek Oles, Eddie Wakes, Carl Saunders, Ben Wendel, Roy McCurdy, and Gary Pratt among others. Gary currently resides in Eagle Rock with his wife Susan, and their cat, Patty. AS ALWAYS is Gary's first recording as a leader. It is a collection of various compositions he has written over the last ten years. It was recorded live, with no overdubs, on one afternoon in July, 2007.
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