James Yoshizawa is a versatile drummer, percussionist and educator living in Los Angeles, CA. He began his musical training at age 11 playing in a Japanese folk music ensemble as well as his middle school marching band and orchestra. Soon after becoming involved in the school music programs, he began to teach himself to play the drumset, which is now his primary instrument. In January 2006, he had the incredibly opportunity to study music in Brazil with some of the leading percussionists there. He was also selected by the Percussive Arts Society to receive the PAS Armand Zildjian Percussion Scholarship for 2007. CSULB awarded him the Komaroff scholarship for a solo marimba performance that same year and the Fine Arts Affiliates Scholarship for a solo vibraphone performance in 2008.
An active performer, he was invited to perform as a guest artist at the Carlsbad Music Festival (2012) and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), and he regularly plays at local venues such as the Baked Potato, Steamers Jazz Club, The Blue Whale, and Catalina Bar and Grill. Some recent, noteworthy engagements include a 3-month run as the percussionist and bodhran soloist in the Broadway musical, "Come From Away," a guest performance with the band NYCO accompanied by the Alabama Symphony in Birmingham, AL, and the recording of all the percussion tracks for an upcoming show at Tokyo Disney.
As an educator, he has taught at nationally recognized high schools all over Southern California. He is currently an instructor at Arcadia High School, Hills Academy of Music, Maestro Music, and Oxford Academy. In early 2017, he started teaching through a nonprofit organization called "Musical Miracles" that provides music instruction at no charge to economically disadvantaged people in the greater Los Angeles area and Mexico.
He has studied privately with Jason Harnell, Chris Wabich and Randy Drake on drumset, Dr. Michael Carney and Dr. Dave Gerhart on mallet percussion, Kevin O’Sullivan on West African drumming, Brad Dutz on hand percussion, Randy Gloss on pandeiro, and Bruce Carver on Bodhran. He holds a B.M. in Percussion Performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music (California State University, Long Beach).