Wasabi was founded in 1998 in Arcata CA. Originally the band consisted of the Work Brothers Ron and Alex on guitars and drums and bass player Matt Robinson. In 2000 the band moved to Santa Cruz CA. Around 2001 the band expanded to include keyboardist Mike Emerson. In 2005 Matt Robinson moved to Sacramento CA to help start the Jazz Studies Program at Sacramento State College and Mike Emerson moved on to a long continuous career as a touring keys player and is currently playing with the Tommy Castro Band.
In 2005 the stars aligned and local Santa Cruz bass wunderkind Dan Robbins joined the Brothers Work on their musical quest.
Since 2005 Ron and Alex Work along with bass player Dan Robbins have been bringing their unique version of music to crowds all over. The power trio plays primarily original music, with a few select covers, rooted in a meld of funk/rock/jazz/world/hip hop/dance music. Wasabi’s tunes draw from the personal journeys of its members and a revolving collection of special guests who frequently sit in on various instruments and vocals. The music is creative and fun with unique twists and turns and lends itself to dancing as well as contemplative listening. The band denies being put into one genre. The music is an exploration and everything is on the table for compositional possibilities.
Wasabi has toured the Pacific Northwest numerous times as well as Alaska. The band played the 58th edition of the Monterey Jazz Fest in 2015. The majority of the bands playing is at local events in Santa Cruz and the various Santa Cruz Mountains communities.
Wasabi has shared the stage with lots of great artists and bands such as: Maceo Parker, Lee Scratch Perry, Trey Gunn Band, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Bunny Wailer, Rockin Teenage Combo, The Living Daylights and Dick Dale.
Dan Robbins has played or recorded in settings ranging from solo, duo, trio, etc. to big band and orchestra, and is known for driving, creative, harmonically and melodically rich background and lead parts on bass. He doubles on both acoustic bass, and four, five, six, and seven-string electric bass, in styles ranging from solo electric jazz chord-melody arrangements, to hard-swinging jazz double bass accompaniment, acoustic and electric funk, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Carribean, rock, blues, tango, Indian, and fusion styles, as well as arco (played with the bow) classical and comtemporary interpretations of composed music. He brings a fiery improvisational spirit and energy to all the projects he is involved with. Dan had performed or recorded with: Smith Dobson, George Marsh, Bruce Forman, Mark Levine, Eddie Marshall, Kenny Stahl, Helcio Milito, Weber Iago, Anton Schwartz, Wally Schnalle, Othello Molineaux, Calvin Edwards, Jacinta, Eddie Mendenhall, Wes Anthony, Steve Robertson, Paul Contos, James Zitro, Martann Mann, Deepak Ram, Clauda Villela, Dori Caymmi, Eric Bolvin, Herb Geller, Red Holloway, Rebecca Paris, Andy Weis, Martin Hedman, Dick Whittington, Vince Lateano, George Young, Ace Hill, Chazz Mewhort, Lee Durley, Brian Pardo, Leonard Thompson, Rob Roth, Dave Valdez, Aaron Parks, Alan Jones, Akira Tana, Dave Ellis, Peter Horvath, Stefan Karlsson, Cedar Walton, Randy Porter, Nancy King, Red Holloway, Tom Gastineau, Ron Kaplan, Remy and Pascal Leboeuf and many others. For more on Dan please visit his website at danrobbinsmusic.com
Alex Work has played or recorded in many settings ranging from solo, duo, trio, etc. to symphony, orchestra and theater pit work. His playing is known for it’s multicultural approach, solid time, dynamics and funky inclinations. He plays in styles ranging from jazzy superfunk, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, Moroccan fusion, high-life, reggae, Caribbean, and blues, as well as roots Americana and rock. He brings an open creativity and expansive energy to all projects with whom he is involved. Alex has played or recorded with: Lauren Shera, Babatunde Olatunji, The Toyes, Wasabi, Lansana Kouyate and Mandeng Djele, Shane Stoneman and the Stumbleweeds, Kevin DiNoto Steelpan Trio (aka Dr. Steelgood!!), Ashley Lloyd, Matt Robinson, Lisa Edburg, Conspirator featuring members of the Disco Biscuits and Umphrees McGee, Aza Moroccan Band, Pankind Steeldrum Band, The Humboldt County Freestyle Kings, 5 Foot Tuesday, Dave Valdez, Jack Licitra, Morsed Mouanne and many others. Alex is currently a test pilot for Sugar Percussion custom drums- the sweetest sounding tubs in the land!