From Classroom to Bandstand, Alum Paul Yonemura Returns to East Bay

Friday, January 27, 2017
BERKELEYSIDE -- He spent a year at SF State, where the highlight was taking improvisation classes with saxophone great John Handy, and then headed east to Boston’s Berklee College of Music. When Yonemura returned to the Bay Area after graduating in 1974 he slowly established himself as a freelancer while also teaching privately. He landed a breakthrough gig in 1976 when he, Dunaway, and guitarist Steve Erquiaga hooked up with accordion virtuoso Art van Damme at Roland’s, a jazz spot in the Marina. It was trial by fire, but he was up to the challenge of van Damme’s searing tempos and ended up playing a long-running annual gig with him.