Norihiro Kikuta is a Japanese guitarist and composer. Norihiro has been developing a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists in New York City, incorporating jazz, funk, and classical music elements to create his signature sound.
Inspired by Chicago blues music at an early age, 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 collaborated with influential professors and highly acclaimed musicians such as David Fiuczynski, Matt Jenson, Jim Kerry, Dennis Montgomery, Winston Maccow, and Mick Goodrick. 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 New York City, where his musical career has progressed both as a leader and a sideman, touring and recording throughout the USA, Canada, and Japan. He has worked with legendary New Orleans band The Wild Magnolias, Russell Batiste (of The Funky Meters), Hey Exit (of Of Plants), The Frightnrs (Daptone Records), Matt Jenson’s Liquid Revolution, Erin Barra (Ableton), Jeanine Truly, and internationally acclaimed producer, Rozhan Razman (Riro Musik), among others.
As a private guitar instructor, Norihiro has worked with Soul Arrow Music, Inc. in Tokyo and Amadeus School of Music in New York City. He teaches beginning-to-intermediate guitarists, specializing in an accessible approach to jazz theory and chord structure.
Norihiro released his critically acclaimed EP, Vegetable Soup, in 2012. The album fea- tures Josh Antonucci (vocal), Ayumi Ueda (crystal bowl), Brendan Landis (beats), and Adam Tressler (guitar). The music has been described as “fresh and diverse ... lyrical and rhythmic,” mixing acoustic ensemble writing with electronic music, pop, and jazz influences.
Currently, he works with Norihiro Kikuta Trio, featuring bassist Daniel Ori and drummer Jeff Fajardo, in major jazz clubs throughout New York City.