Bassist Kanoa Mendenhall was born in Yokohama, Japan. Raised by two pianists in Monterey, California, she started playing jazz cello at age 10 and upright bass at age 12.
A regular participant of Monterey Jazz Festival’s summer camp, at a young age she was fortunate to learn from masters such as Bruce Forman, Vince Lateano, Scott Steed, and Peck Allmond. By age 13, she was regularly performing in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay areas. Now 20, Kanoa resides in NYC, where she studies East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, and has participated in the Columbia-Juilliard exchange program. In addition, she has a regular jazz show on the university’s radio station WKCR, and has been part of the bass faculty of Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past two years. She has performed at venues throughout the United States and Japan, such as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Davies Symphony Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Kanoa has performed with musicians such as Cecil McBee, Scott Robinson, Joe Lovano, Allison Miller, Ron Carter, Antonio Hart, Darrell Green, and has recorded with Tom Pierson, Lew Soloff, and Pheeroan akLaff. She studied cello with Margie Dally, and bass with John Shifflett, Rufus Reid, Ben Wolfe, and Ugonna Okegwo.