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Boz Scaggs & Robben Ford Pay Tribute

Memorial concert Sunday for slain guitar maker

By DAN TAYLOR
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
May 20, 2010 

When Taku Sakashita was attacked and fatally stabbed at his Rohnert Park workshop last February, the music world lost a great guitar maker.

His clients, which include star guitarists Boz Scaggs and Robben Ford, remember him as a fine craftsman with an eye for detail, a flair for design and a musical ear.

“Taku paid tremendous attention to detail. Nothing was taken for granted,” Ford said. “He had an artist’s eye, always looking for something fresh and beautiful. These instruments are beautiful.”

Ford, Scaggs and other well-known Northern California musicians will perform Sunday at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park at a memorial concert for Sakashita.

“Taku hand-made his instruments and it’s no easy thing. The designs are remarkable. There are no two alike, and they’re unlike any other instruments in the world,” Scaggs said.

Sakashita, 43, whose custom guitars sold for up to $35,000, was killed Feb. 11. Joshua Begley has been charged with homicide in the case and is awaiting trial.

Both Ford and Scaggs said they had been working with Sakashita for 10 years, and got to know the master luthier.

“Taku had a great sense of humor,” Ford said. “He was very refined.”

At the time of his death, Sakashita (who sometimes spelled his name Sakashta) was building a custom guitar for Scaggs.

“Every year, before I’d go on tour, I’d check with Taku and he would take a look at the guitar that he built for me, as well as a few other guitars, and fine-tune them and get them into shape,” Scaggs said.

Ford was playing a concert at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma a decade ago when Sakashita first approached him.

“Taku brought a guitar to show me. I liked it, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for, so he asked if I would be interested in him building a guitar for me,” Ford said.

Soon, a mutually beneficial collaboration developed between the luthier and the guitarist, with Sakashita creating a series of four guitars for Ford.

“Taku wasn’t charging me for these guitars. I’m well known enough that if I’m playing somebody’s guitars, other people start buying them,” Ford said. “My input on the instrument was minimal, I’d say, but people like having a guitar like the one I play.”

Ford, primarily known as a blues guitarist, is a Ukiah native and now lives in Ojai. Scaggs, who had pop hits in the ’70s with “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle,” divides his time between homes in San Francisco and Napa.

Both Ford and Scaggs said that when friends of Sakashita started organizing a benefit concert for the guitar-maker’s widow, Kazuko, they were eager to help.

“I’m a musician,” Scaggs said. “I am intimately attached in my life and work to these instruments. I can appreciate the depth of his skills.”

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Musical tribute to slain Rohnert Park guitar maker


CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / The Press Democrat
Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart perform during a benefit concert celebrating the life of guitar maker Taku Sakashita at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park on Sunday, May 23, 2010.


DAN TAYLOR
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

May 23, 2010 at 7:48 p.m.

( page all of 3 )

Master guitar maker Taku Sakashita was a quiet and private man, but electric guitars wailed in his honor Sunday as friends and fans gathered for a six-hour, sold-out memorial concert in Rohnert Park.

Master guitar maker Taku Sakashita, who was slain Feb. 11 at his Rohnert Park workshop. "Everybody's out here for Taku," guitarist and bandleader Eric Gales said from the stage of the Spreckels Center for the Performing Arts, speaking to the capacity crowd of 500.

Sakashita, 43, was attacked and fatally stabbed at his Rohnert Park workshop Feb. 11. Joshua Begley has been charged with homicide in the case and is awaiting trial.

The guitar maker's friends, fans and colleagues organized the show to benefit Sakashita's widow, Kazuko, with tickets priced from $55 to $100. The concert lineup featured some the luthier's star clients, including blues guitar virtuoso Robben Ford, '70s-'80s rocker Boz Scaggs and jazz duo Tuck and Patti.

The tribute started with a poetry reading and light show and moved quickly to a long string of spirited guitar solos, ranging in style from blues and rock to soul and jazz. A silent auction offered not only guitars, but bicycles, wine and a miniature Bruce Lee statue. Later in the evening, master of ceremonies Frank Hayhurst, a Cotati musician and owner of Zone Music, asked the audience for a moment of remembrance, one of the few silent spots of the night.

Sakashita grew up in Japan, rocking out to such bands as KISS, and moved to the U.S. in 1991, working in New Jersey, Indianapolis and Los Angeles before settling in Rohnert Park. "Taku really cut his teeth on rock 'n' roll in Japan," said Bay Area guitarist Tuck Andress of Tuck and Patti.

The crowd included Sakashita's mother and 40 of his friends from Kobe, his former hometown in Japan. Sakashita's wife attended the event but declined interview requests. "I apprenticed with Taku for two years," said Ross Shafer, one of the concert organizers, "and Kazuko always has been pretty shy. And this is an emotional time." Another of the concert's organizers, Mac Skinner, works for a guitar amplifier company in the same business park where Sakashita kept his workshop. "Taku was a hard worker," Skinner recalled. "He worked constantly, day and night."

Sakashita, whose custom guitars sold for up to $35,000, combined talent and imagination with a meticulous work ethic, said fellow guitar-maker Toru Nittono of Los Angeles. "The most amazing thing was his ability to design the shape and construction and sound," Nittono said. "He was one of the rare luthiers who combined all of those elements." Musicians appreciated Sakashita's eagerness to create exactly the instrument each artist needed, Andress explained. "He was a musician himself. He was a good guitarist. You'll see very different musicians playing his guitars, and he would work with each one," Andress said. "Taku worked in the custom shop of a major guitar company in Japan for many years," he added, "and he was the guy that interacted with the Japanese rock stars. He said he learned to read musicians' minds."

Andress' wife, singer Patti Cathcart, remembered Sakashita as "funny and delightful and deeply spiritual. He believed in music as a transformational tool." Most of the musicians who volunteered to play the memorial knew Sakashita and his wife as a couple, and consider the guitar maker's widow a friend, Andress said. "A lot of people really care about her and trying to help her," he said.

"It's a tribute to the man," Cathcart added.

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Benefit Info

Boz Scaggs to play at benefit for guitar maker's widow
April 18, 2010

“An Intimate Evening For Taku” will take place at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park on Sunday, May 23 at 4-9pm. Tickets are $ 55 general admission and $100 for special reserved seats. Ticket purchases can be made by phone (707-588-3400) or at the Spreckels Box Office.

This special evening will feature the exceptional talents of: Robben Ford, and Tuck & Patti, with a special appearance by music legend Boz Scaggs.

Local favorites, The Volker Strifler Band and The Black Market Blues Band will get the ball rolling. Bill Ham, famous for his iconic Fillmore West light shows, will be supplying visual entertainment for an extra treat!

All of us who were lucky enough to know and work with Taku hope that you’ll join us for what will surely be an outstanding celebration of his life.

For media contact: Mac Skinner (707) 321-8015

DONATIONS: Trust Fund and Silent Auction
In a community wide effort to further support Taku’s widow, a silent auction of many wonderful goods and services will be held on the day of the benefit. Donations of saleable goods and services are gratefully accepted. A trust fund has been set up for those interested in sending monetary donations.


Donation contact: Ross Shafer (707) 765-1236
Please send
Auction donations to:
Attn: Taku Donation c/o Two Rock Amplification
619 Martin Ave. Ste. 6
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Monetary Donations:
checks payable to Sakashta Memorial Fund
Wells Fargo Bank
c/o Acct. # 7478-148203
Elmwood Branch 2951
College Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705

kuro

March 1, 2010

On February 11, 2010 our dear friend Taku Sakashta was taken from us by a brutal and senseless act of cruelty. Taku’s family and friends have already begun the difficult task of planning the future. Plans are underway for a benefit the date and location of which is to be announced.

All news and announcements intended for the public will be posted here on the Sakashta Guitars News page. We ask that you check here for updates.

Donation of funds and sale-able auction items are being accepted. You can find information regarding donations at this link: http://haflingguitars.com/forum/showthread.php?t=684

Customers with pending orders are asked to collect their documentation and contact Sakashta Guitars through the email : info@sakashtaguitars.com.

The tragic loss of Taku is a big one. Picking up the pieces is going to take some time. Taku’s family and friend’s thank you all in advance for your compassion and patience.

Top musicians to play at benefit for guitar maker's widow

Show set for May 23 in Rohnert Park

By DAN TAYLOR
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

April 22, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.

Singer and guitarist Boz Scaggs and blues guitarist Robben Ford will perform at a benefit show next month in Rohnert Park for the widow of slain master guitar maker Taku Sakashita.

Sakashita, 43, whose custom guitars sold for up to $35,000, was killed at his Rohnert Park workshop Feb. 11. Joshua Begley has been charged with murder in the case and is awaiting trial.

At the time of his death, Sakashita was building a custom guitar for Scaggs, and Ford was also among his clients.

The concert starts at 4 p.m. May 23 at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. Tuck and Patti and the Volker Strifler Band also will perform.

Tickets go on sale Monday, April 26. Admission: $55-$100.

Taku Benefit Tickets now on sale!

Tickets for the Taku Sakashta benefit on May 23rd at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center are now on sale — call the Box Office at 588-3400 (Tuesday thru Saturday 11:00 to 5:00pm) — they’re $55.00 each – and in this case totally worth it!

The show will feature Robben Ford, Tuck & Patti, and special guest Boz Scaggs – along with Volker Striffler, and an additional special guest, the blazing guitarist Eric Gales sitting in with the Black Market Blues Band – along with Bill Ham Lights – this will be an amazing afternoon and evening of music – along with a silent auction – the show starts at 4:00PM and ends at 10:00 PM.

There will be food – sushi in fact, provided by Ken of Hana’s in Rohnert Park, and Spreckles serves beer and wine.

Our community of musicians has been devastated by the loss of Japanese-American luthier Taku Sakashta, who was recently killed outside of his workshop in Rohnert Park – and the only thing we know how to do with this heartbreak is to celebrate his life.

Taku’s primary focus as a guitar builder was the arch top guitar, although he could build anything and did so for many of the world’s best guitarists, including Tony Darren, Robben Ford, Tony Marcus, Boz Scaggs and Martin Simpson. At the time of his death Taku’s website mentioned that he was in the process of designing a guitar for both Tuck Andress and Pat Martino.

This will be a sold out show – no doubt about it – and it will be a totally amazing event.

 

On Sunday, May 23rd, from 4pm to 10pm,
there will be a benefit concert featuring:
Robben Ford
Tuck & Patti
Boz Scaggs
and silent auction at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park,
to celebrate Taku Sakashta’s life and offer support to Kazuko, his widow and family.

Taku Sakashta, a wonderful guy, talented guitarmaker, and friend was tragically taken from us recently by a murderer. There are many fine luthiers in Sonoma County; it is something of a mecca for guitarmakers. However none are finer than Taku. He built incredibly beautiful, interesting, and innovative acoustic and electric guitars for musicians and collectors here and abroad. From Robben Ford to Tuck Andress of Tuck and Patty, from jazz musicians to blues and rock players, Taku found imaginative ways of building guitars that could excite, inspire, and facilitate their music.

Taku’s death leaves his wife Kazuko without her husband, and his many friends and fans without the lovely person who offered so much inspiration by his work and his life.

On May 23rd, from 4pm to 10pm, there will be a benefit concert and silent auction at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, to celebrate Taku’s life and offer support to Kazuko. Items of general interest as well as of specific interest to guitar makers and musicians will be displayed and available. Already lined up are innovatively designed stools, handmade amplifiers, electric guitars and basses, instruments for kids, antique and modern bicycles, and much more.

Performing will be Robben Ford, Boz Scaggs, Tuck and Patty, Volker Strifler, the Black Market Blues Band, and other special guests, including Eric Gales. Bill Ham will be performing a Show of Light Art. Frank Hayhurst of Zone Music will be MC’ing

Tickets for this worthy and exciting event are available at the Spreckels Box Office, 707-588-3400.

Sonoma County Gazette

 

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