“Tadaima!” - "now, at present / I am here! / I am home!" - is a traditional Japanese announcement when one comes home.
TADAIMA is a musical home for its artists.
TADAIMA performs original music influenced by the traditions of jazz improvisation, world cultures, and modern music.
Ruseel Baba and Jeanne Mercer form TADAIMA’s “home” center with winds and taiko. Adding their talents are bassist Gary Fitzgerald and Masato Baba on taiko and flute. TADAIMA expands its sound and presentation to include additional guest artists.
Russel Baba – leader, composer / saxophone, flute, taiko, percussion
Jeanne Mercer – composer / taiko, percussion
Jeanne Aiko Mercer is a recognized and honored American taiko pioneer. She has inspired a new generation of taiko artists. Jeanne trained and toured with San Francisco Taiko Dojo under Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka and established Shasta Taiko and the ShastaYama Festival with Russel Baba.
Jeanne has taken taiko to new areas performing and recording jazz influenced music and improvisation as well as writing original compositions for taiko and jazz. Her taiko compositions are the center of Shasta Taiko’s repertoire and are considered “classic” in modern American taiko.
She leads workshops with Russel Baba at national, regional, and collegiate conferences in taiko and improvisation.
Mercer has collaborated and performed original work with Russel Baba and jazz artists - Eddie Moore, Michael White, Andrew Hill, Gary Fitzgerald, Mark Izu, Makoto Horiuchi,; taiko artists - Seiichi Tanaka, Kenny Endo, Masato Baba, San Jose Taiko, Portland Taiko, and On Ensemble; Japanese butoh dancer Koichi Tamano; writer Lawson Inada; and painter Hisako Hibi.
She has contributed to movie soundtracks – Star Wars and Apocalypse Now, and is featured on recordings by Russel Baba – Hisashi, Spirit Drum, Tadaima, and Korewakorewa.
Gary Fitzgerald – composer / bass
Gary Fitzgerald is known for his dynamic bass sound, creative spontaneity, and a unique writing approach.
Gary has performed and recorded original music with jazz artists - wnd player Russel Baba, drummer Eddie Moore, violinist Michael White, drummer E. W. Wainwright, and pianist Ron Hart. He has also performed with trumpeter Eddie Henderson and guitarist Bill deArango. Fitzgerald has toured and recorded with Eddie Moore’s Space Shuttle Omnibus and E.W. Wainwright’s Afro Roots of Jazz. He currently performs music with several Los Angeles based ensembles.
Masato Baba – composer / taiko, flute
Masato Baba has emerged as a leader of American taiko and a fresh voice on fue – Japanese bamboo flute. The son of Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, he was an original member of Shasta Taiko starting at the age of six.
Masato furthered his taiko training with Master Kenny Endo and directed Endo’s youth program in Honolulu. He studied in Japan with Nihon Taiko Dojo and studied fue with Master Kyosuke Suzuki of the Wakayama School.
He is the Artistic Director of Los Angeles based ensemble TaikoProject and has performed at the Academy Awards, on The Voice, and with Alicia Keys on the X-Factor. Baba is also a member of cutting edge music / taiko group, On Ensemble. Masato served as lead coordinator of the first World Taiko Gathering held in Los Angeles.
Baba has toured and recorded with Shasta Taiko and Tadaima; and tours the nation and worldwide with TaikoProject, On Ensemble, and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. His playing and compositions are also featured on several CDs and DVDs with Tadaima, TaikoProject, On Ensemble, and Kenny Endo.