Born and raised in California, Akira Tana earned degrees from Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Tana has worked with SONNY ROLLINS, SONNY STITT, ZOOT SIMS, HUBERT LAWS, MILT JACKSON, JIM HALL, ART FARMER, THE PAUL WINTER CONSORT, PAQUITO D'RIVERA, JAMES MOODY, J.J. JOHNSON, LENA HORNE, THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER, RUTH BROWN, CHARLES AZNAVOUR, MAURICE HINES, AND VAN DYKE PARKS. He has appeared on over 150 recordings.
Tana co-led a quintet with the bassist, Rufus Reid called TanaReid, has five releases, "Yours and Mine" and "Passing Thoughts," on Concord Records and "Blue Motion" and "Looking Forward,"and “Back to Front,” on Evidence Music. On Sons of Sound, Akira has three releases as a leader, "Moon Over the World, Secret Agent Men. and a project by the Secret Agent Men Band playing themes from the movies of James Bond, entitled “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” This project features Rodney Jones, Gary Versace, Jimmy Greene and Annie Sellick, among others.
An active teacher and clinician, Tana has taught at Rutgers University, Queens College, Jersey City State College, New York University, and is currently on the faculty at San Francisco State University and the the Jazz Institute in Berkeley, Ca.
Mr. Tana is a product endorser of YAMAHA DRUMS, CRECENT CYMBALS, and VIC FIRTH STICKS.