- The Bridge
was founded in 1974 by Dan (sax) and June Kuramoto (koto). This ensemble was
joined by taiko drummer Johnny Mori, drummer/percussionist Danny
Yamamoto and keyboardist Kimo Cornwell. The lineup today
includes besides the above mentioned artists bassist Dean Cortez,
vocalist Terry Steele and guitarist Fred Schreuders. The name of the
group is taken from the Japanese city that sustained a nuclear blast
during World War II, yet roses from the ashes. A motif also mirrored
in the first track of the new album "The Bridge".
To understand their music it's necessary to know
more about those Japanese instruments. The Koto is an instrument
related to the zither. A traditional Koto has 13 strings, being arched
tautly across 13 movable bridges along the length of the instrument.
Players make base pitches by moving these 13 bridges before playing.
The Taiko (large drum) is played in India through China, Mongolia,
Southeast Asia and Korea. The Japanese-American Taiko varies slightly
from the Japanese version. The Americanized version often uses wine
barrels for the main body.
Bridge" is Hiroshima's debut album on the Heads Up Records label.
"We looked at who we are when we came up with the title,"
comments Dan Kuramato, the band's leader and producer. ""For
us, "The Bridge" has many different meanings, including
cultural and artistic bridges. As a third generation Japanese, it's
about growing up here and trying to integrate socially. Also the music
business has continued to change its complexion, and as a group we
need to constantly reinvent ourselves while staying true to our
artistic vision. We're bridging a lot of things right now."
Phoenix is a premium example for Hiroshima's typical sound, a mélange
of Eastern and Western Pop music with a special piano excursion into
jazzy improvisation. Dan Kuramato is playing fue, a Japanese flute.
While typically simple in construction, fue require a high level of
craft to create a quality, in-tune instrument. Dan plays it masterly,
the clear tone is easy to hear and the melody will be remembered. The
rhythm reminds at the captivating sound of 3rd Force.
Of Love is a flash back to the splinter group of Ernie and
Marvin Isley, plus their cousin Chris Jasper, former part of the Isley
Brothers. Terry Steele, who penned Luther Vandross' "Hear
And Now", creates
a classic R&B feeling.
The instrumental Shaka
Phonk is featuring June Kuramato on koto. She is a virtuoso and
the musical heart of the group. Anew Kimo Cornwell delivers a jazz
fusion attitude on acoustic piano, superb.
slow love song with much sensitivity is creeping into your heart with Believe.
"The more that you want it, the more that you need it, the more
you'll believe. I need you oh so much. Trust in me." is the
message in a silky package delivered by Terry Steele.
jamming tune in the style of Les McCann like Revelation
will find your attention.
Wish is a reminiscence of Hiroshima's former hit "One
Wish" (1985), a tune for peaceful hours.
Benson sang it on his album 20/20 (1985) : I
Just Wanna Hang Around You. Terry Steele sings it now again
with more emotion.
Back to the roots with Manzanar.
This song is dedicated to the parents of Hiroshima, the Nisei.
The Japanese atmosphere is woven by koto and shakuhachi.
Viven has a vivid
Afro/Brazilian rhythm with a propulsive bass, the melody is drifting
into New Age.
A slow contemplative Sanju
presents Dan Kuramoto's Soprano sax in company with some synthesizers
are to find on many locations. The rivers of this song are flowing in
Hiroshima. It's a ballade about the spirit of people of this haunted
city and their rise from the ashes.
combination of traditional Japanese instruments like koto and
shakuhachi with modern instruments is attractive and has its own charm.
Together with Terry Steele's seductive voice Hiroshima's music is