Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, founders of Shasta Taiko and the ShastaYama Festival, will celebrate New Year’s Eve performing with their son Masato Baba at Mount Shasta’s Wayside Grill, starting at 8:30 p.m.

The family is well known for introducing and exposing taiko – Japanese drum – to America. The trio draws from their extensive backgrounds in taiko, jazz, and world music, combining fresh compositions and improvisation that ranges from the rhythmic powerful taiko to subtle musical reflections. They will be presenting their original works, some from the family’s latest CD recordings, “Tadaima” and “Korewa Korewa.”

Besides being known for taiko, Russel is a saxophonist, flute player and composer whose work has been critically acclaimed in music publications such as DownBeat, Musician, and Jazz Times.  

Jeanne is a taiko pioneer now considered a “mother of American taiko.”

Masato started taiko training as a child with Shasta Taiko and has now established a reputation as a leader of a new taiko generation with Los Angeles based TaikoProject and On Ensemble.  

“The smaller ensemble gives us an opportunity to explore other artistic and musical directions,” says Russel. “The long unique relationship and bond we share as creative artists, musicians, and family is special, and it’s reflected in the music. We hope the music will be an inspirational way to bring in the new year.”

The three artists perform each summer at ShastaYama in Mount Shasta and have performed together at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Eddie Moore Jazz Festival, Asian American Jazz Festival, International Taiko Festival, Japanese American Theatre and the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles, and at the North American Taiko Conference.

CD recordings will be available at the performance. The Wayside Grill is located at 2217 S. Mt. Shasta Blvd. Call (530) 918-9234.