music is touching me so deep, that I must spread the word like a
herald. Hiroshima's new album Legacy is motivating and pushing
me in this direction. I use the old world herald in full conscience.
It's the melting of old traditional Japanese with modern jazz
instruments which makes Hiroshima's music somehow antique in the sense
of an "old master", a term for an European painter of skill who worked
before about 1800, or a painting by such a painter. Equally their
music is so modern and unique that one cannot compare their
Asian-American jazz fusion with the music of any other group.
The new album is a collection of songs
from Hiroshima's first musical decade. The songs were not taken from
the previous albums but re-recorded by the band's current lineup, the
founders Dan (sax) and June Kuramoto (koto), joined by taiko
drummer/percussionist Shoji Kameda, drummer/percussionist Danny
Yamamoto, keyboardist Kimo Cornwell and bassist Dean Cortez. Further
guest musicians are Terry Steele, Jim Gilstrap and Yvette Nii
(vocals), Richie Gajate Garcia (percussion) and the string
arrangements of maestro George del Barrio.
"When you start looking back at fifteen
records over thirty years, that's a lot of material to choose from, "
comments Dan Kuramato. "So we narrowed the scope to the first ten
years, which includes five records - two of which were gold. We
tracked everything live in my home studio for this new recording, with
almost no overdubs. In many cases, the songs on this record are fairly
similar to the originals. In some cases, they're very different."
The album starts with the GRAMMY nominated Winds Of Change from
Hiroshima's album Odori (1980). The new recorded version is
more orchestral and focused on the ancient Japanese instruments.
Mighty taiko drums are underlining the modern drum beat. Dan's
fabulous sax is shimmering over the ancient sound.
Turning Point from the album Providence (1992) is a
captivating song showcasing June's blessed skills on the koto. This
tune has the same atmosphere as Ryuichi Sakamoto's Merry
Christmas Mr. Lawrence. Soft synth waves introduce into the main
melody of One Wish. Originally from the album Another Place
(1985) the group found many fans exactly with this infectious
Asian flavored song.
Dada from the album Hiroshima (1979) reveals the fresh
experimental attitude of the group during the founding area. But the
group really makes the most of their talent with hooking melodies like
I've Been Here Before from the album Go (1987). The
blending of Asian sounds into smooth jazz garnered most of the
A sophisticated rhythm package introduces into the glorious East
the same-titled album (1989). Bass, drums and Asian instruments are
melting to an irresistible menagerie. Roomful Of Mirrors from
the self-titled debut album (1979) shows
spell bounding vocals.
Another Place has a strong experimental level. Citing the bass
of the Temptations' Papa Was A Rolling Stone, escaping in
melodious soundscapes and caught again in shapeless fusion the
audience has to await a lot of surprise. Barbara Long's Save
Yourself For Me, originally from Another Place, finds a new
approach with Terry Steele. Terry tagged as the new Luther Vandross is
famous for his soul-stirring sound.
Hawaiian Electric from Go is presented in a longer and
modern version. Fresh and dynamic the song incorporates the new face
of Hawaiian Islands infiltrating some spicy salsa. The album is closed
by Thousand Cranes from East, a musical homage to
A prayer for piece which shouldn't be unheard.
Legacy is an invitation to explore Hiroshima's musical heritage.
For fans of the group a welcome addition, for others the perfect entry
into an unknown world of sound.
- Album Information
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Heads Up International
01 Winds Of Change [7:12]
02 Turning Point [6:22]
03 One Wish [4:53]
04 Dada [6:34]
05 I've Been Here Before [5:35]
06 East [6:40]
07 Roomful Of Mirrors [4:01]
08 Another Place [9:38]
09 Save Yourself For Me [5:45]
10 Hawaiian Electric [6:32]
11 Thousand Cranes [4:06]
- Further Reviews