Sometimes 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 audience.

A sophisticated rhythm package introduces into the glorious East from 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 Yvette Nii 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 Sadako Sasaki. 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.





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  • Album Information

    Title: Legacy
    Artist: Hiroshima
    Year: 2009
    Length: 1:07:19
    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]

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