Norihiro Kikuta has been developing a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists – incorporating jazz, soul, and reggae elements to create his signature sound.
Born in 1984 Sapporo, Japan, Norihiro was inspired by Chicago Blues at an early age. Following a stint with a local band, he began performing professionally at 18 years old. After cutting his teeth on gigs throughout Tokyo, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he honed his guitar playing and production skills from 2005–2008. While there, he met professors/musical mentors such as Jim Kelly, Matt Jenson, Skip Smith, Winston Maccow, and Jon Damian. While attending Berklee, he toured throughout the US with assistant professor Matt Jenson’s project The Liquid Revolution, legendary New Orleans Band The Wild Magnolias, Russell Batiste of The Funky Meters among others. He also performed in the Montreal Reggae Festival as a school band representative. He also earned an achievement-based scholarship, helping him to complete his education. He graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music in 2008. He eventually relocated to Tokyo, and subsequently to New York City, where his musical career has progressed both as a leader and a sideman.
Norihiro released his first EP Vegetable Soup in 2012. The album features Josh Antonucci (vocal), Ayumi Ueda (crystal bowl), Brendan Landis (beats), and Adam Tressler (guitar). One of the tracks, Why Worry So from this EP has received a lot of compliments from the fanbase. Jazz journalist Eric Frazier wrote in his review, “This group is committed to the full extent of their artistry, because the music is so tight and cohesive.”