In 1993, Toshi left Japan for Seville, Spain where he would learn and practice and develop his own style and sound. He remained in Seville for over five years and absorbed the music of Spain, travelling to distant parts of Spain and even to Morocco. For two years, he performed and toured with Pata Negra, an internationally renowned Flamenco-fusion group. The captivating rhythms of his playing can be traced to these roots.
His fisrt CD, entitled Toshi, was released in 1997. Toshi himself composed and produced the songs on the CD, while being joined by musicians from Spain and Brazil. In Toshi's later CDs, the sound of Brazilian samba and bossa nova are clearly heard. He has truly become a "fusion" artist.
Toshi's second solo CD, Voy Con Fusión, was released in September 2008. This was a superb example of his fusion of flamenco, jazz, rock, and even hip hop. His third solo CD was entitled When You Passed By and was released in March of 2012. Both of these magnificent recordings featured contributions from Portland's bullpen of great musicians including drummer Reinhardt Melz, bassist Damian Erskine, percussionist Israel Annoh, vocalist Tracey Harris, bassist Jon Hughes and so many others.
Toshi currently performs at various venues across Portland with the artists mentioned above. One of Portland's hardest-working musicians, he plays almost every evening of the week.
Toshi defies categories. "Fusion" remains the best, most accurate, description of his play but even this is found lacking when he breaks into a traditional piece such as Besame Mucho. Fusion, traditional Spanish, jazz, bossa nova or rock, Toshi plays them all with sublime musicianship and heart.
This is the main character of Toshi Onizuka's musicianship; it is his warm heart that provides the rhythm to his supreme performances.