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Hiromi Kanda: Days of Yesterday

Dan McClenaghan By

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Japanese-born and now Honolulu-based vocalist Hiromi Kanda had some success in her homeland with the beginnings of a singing career. After winning a talent contest, plans were made to turn Kanda into a sexy pop idol. She demurred. What Kanda wanted was a career as a singer/songwriter. And she loved the Great American Songbook, and artists like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Class and elegance were in her plans.

With her sophomore recording, Days of Yesterday, Kanda has realized her dreams, on a recording that features several familiar American Songbook tunes—"I Love Paris," Stella By Starlight," "Our Love is Here to Stay"—along with three of her own tunes, written in collaboration with her husband, Yosuke Hoguchi, that have the sound and feeling of classics.

Kanda delivers a lyric with remarkable intimacy. Her vocal on the title tune—a Kanda /Higuchi original—is steeped in weary sorrow at love gone wrong. On "I'm Through With Love," she tells her story with a voice that slips from a hushed confidentiality to a rich and forthright confessional. "Stella By Starlight" is delivered straight, with nuanced phrasing and a beautiful pureness of tone.

This exceptional vocalist holds several hole cards on the outing, most notably Matt Catingub, who arranged and conducted a sixty piece orchestra to create atmospheres, at times, of straight-up sassiness; at other times he creates moods of whispering affection, doing for Kanda what Nelson Riddle did so often for Sinatra. Pianist Joe Sample is here, too, adding some sparkle and class on three tunes. Saxophonist Pete Christlieb sits in on a couple more with some stellar soloing.

Days of Yesterday brings back memories of the mid to late fifties, when well-crafted outings featuring great vocalists backed by fantastic orchestrations were on the air waves, offering up three and a half minute musical gems with exquisite good taste.

Track Listing: Days of Yesterday; It Had to Be You; All of Me; Memories of You; I'm through With Love; Stella By Starlight; Twilight Tears; Our Love Is Here to Stay; You've Made a Dreamer Out of Me; Smile; Night and Day; I Love Paris.

Personnel: Hiromi Kanda: vocals; Matt Catingub: conductor/arranger; Kevin Axt: bass; Chuck Bergofer: bass; Kevin Winnard: drums; Dan Higgins: woodwinds; Jeff Driskell: woodwinds; Pete Christlieb: woodwinds; Greg Huckins: woodwinds; Salvadore Lozano: woodwinds; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet; Bob Summers: trumpet; Dan Fornero: trumpet; Rick Baptist: trumpet; Andy Martin: trombone; Alex Isles: trombone; Craig Gosnell: trombone;Quin Johnson: piano; Joe Sample: piano; Larry Koonse: guitars; Jo Ann Turovsky: harp; Violins: Sid Page, Eun-Mee Ahn, Armen Anassian, Ishani Bhoola, Darrius Campo, Bruce Dukov, Nina Evtuhov, Juli Ann Gigante, Alan Grunfeld, Amy Hershberger, Maia Jasper, Aimee Kreston, Ana Landauer, Songa Lee, Marina Manukian, Serena McKiney, Helen Nightengale, Alyssa Park, Sare Parkins, Katia Popov, Anatoly Rosinsky, Neil Samples, Simeon Simeonov, Teresa Stanislaw, Josefina Vergara, Irena Voloshina, Miwako Watanabe.

Title: Days of Yesterday | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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