Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Shunsuke (pronounced: Shoon-soo-ke) "Shun" Kikuta
was born in Utsunomiya-city, a Tokyo suburb in 1966.
In 1986, at the age 19, Shun moved to Boston and enrolled at the
Berklee College of Music, one of the most renowned known jazz-popular
music schools in the United States. While at Berklee, Shun studied jazz
composition, arrangements, and harmonic theory. An epiphany came when a
friend introduced Shun to B.B.King's "Live at the Regal"; one of the
greatest blues recordings ever, this was destiny calling is name. Shun
states, " The album hit me, man. It was so great. I just loved it. A
whole lot of energy, emotions, feelings, just great," Shun described the
impact of his first exposure to blues. "
From that point on, I was into blues really seriously," continued Shun. At Berklee, Shun jammed with Roy Hargrove (trumpet), Mark Turner (tenor sax), and Mark Whitfield (guitar). Perhaps it was also fate that George Benson; one of world's greatest jazz guitarists whom Shun credits as also having a tremendous influence on him, was guest of honor at Berklee's graduation ceremony and presented Shun with his diploma, yet another epiphany for Shun.
A week after graduating from Berklee in 1990, he moved to Chicago to
play the Blues. But not before living it. Shun gained employment as a
dishwasher and after only a few months on the job, he was laid off.
In a way, moving to Chicago was a rebirth for Shun. Within six
months, he found work with the blues legends such as Son Seals, Big Time
Sarah, and Johnny Little John. However, in his quest to become one of
the premier, un-heralded guitarists in the blues music industry, Shun
journeyed to music experiences beyond Chicago.
Over the years he has produced and collaborated on many blues
recordings. Japanese King Records commissioned Shun to produce a blues
CD by the Frank Collier Band's "Funky Blues" in 1994. Then he produced
"Tribute to Magic Sam" (later released by Evidence Music in the USA) and
his leading albums "They call me Shun" (later released as "Me and my
Guitar" by Bluesox Label in the USA)," and "Chicago Midnight" in 1995
and 96. In 1996, when Shun attended "The Park Tower Blues Festival '96"
in Tokyo with his own band, the two shows at Park Tower were recorded
live and released as "Live! The 3rd Park Tower Blues Festival '96" Shun
Kikuta & J.W. Williams (later was released as "Live and Kickin'" by
Bluesox Label in the USA).
Shun's latest epiphany came when he was asked to perform for the legendary B.B. King; "King of the Blues", An Evening with B.B. King, which was aired on PBS in February 2004. Mr. B.B. King said to Shun during the taping, 'If my life story is ever made, you could play me as young B.B.'
Now, 18 years later, while Shun still resides in Chicago, he is an internationally renowned musician traveling around the world entertaining audiences with his soulful, explosive, and heart-retching music. He crosses the globe including Europe, Bahamas, Central America, Asia, Oceania and Canada several times each year touring with Koko Taylor, "The Queen of Blues", J.W.Williams and his own group Shun Kikuta Band. - Show Schedules
He also has performed with such blues, soul and jazz legends as
Buddy Guy, Otis
Rush, Johnny and
Robert Lockwood Jr,
Hubert Sumlin, Tyrone Davis, Willie
Clayton, Brian McKnight, Dave Myers, Irma
Thomas, Denise LaSalle,
Marva Wright, Roy Hargrove, Mark
Turner, Mark Whitfeild, Kenny
Wayne Shepperd, Mojo Buford, Lonnie
Brooks, Eddy Clearwater,
Kenny Neal, Billy Branch and