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Hiroshima: Departure

Read "Departure" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Departure isn't as much a radical departure as it is the next step in Hiroshima's evolution away from smooth jazz mainstay into a tight unit of skilled players making consistently solid music. The band is still built around multi-instrumentalist Dan Kuramoto and June Kuramoto}'s kinetic koto performances. James “Kimo" Cornwell's keyboard is an underrated strength, as is bassist Dean Cortez, and Danny Yamamoto and Shoji Kameda, on drums and taiko respectively.Hiroshima's previous album, Legacy (Heads Up, 2009) was ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Hiroshima: Legacy

Read "Legacy" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

For a band as long-lived as Hiroshima--and one that has enjoyed as extensive a recording career--the gap in its career is the lack of a proper retrospective of 30 years in the music industry.Legacy represents both a celebration of Hiroshima's first decade and something of a compromise. Over 11 tracks the group revisits some of its best-known recordings, including “One Wish," “Hawaiian Electric" and “Winds of Change," but these are new re-recordings of the songs, not the original ...

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Hiroshima: Little Tokyo

Read "Little Tokyo" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

There's something about the word “crossover that makes musicians and their fans cringe--as if it's bad to be considered diverse. Yet that's exactly what Hiroshima is--a band that plays a little bit of everything.Originating in Los Angeles, this Japanese-American ensemble has been a lesson in cultural diversity since its beginnings in 1974 and album debut in 1979. Hiroshima's music, though largely centered around the genre of smooth jazz, blends traditional Asian melodies with R&B, pop, African styles and ...

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Hiroshima: Little Tokyo

Read "Little Tokyo" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Something seems to happen to many bands after they enter 20 to 25 years of making music. They seem to run out of new and interesting things to say and pretty soon all they do is recycle the same scant ideas over and over as they become dim parodies of themselves. You see this happen all the time in rock 'n roll where, too often, making money takes precedence over having anything new and fresh to say.How fortunate ...

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Hiroshima: Obon

Read "Obon" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

From the opening gong, you know you're in for a treat with Obon. Marking Hiroshima's 25th anniversary, the new disc is the Japanese-American group's first without vocals--save a wordless chant by Shoji Kameda on “Obon Two-Five. Formed by Dan and June Kuramoto (the only Japanese native in the group) in 1979, Hiroshima has successfully blended traditional Japanese sounds with North American pop, soul, R&B, and of course jazz. Another Place, released in 1985, was their first gold record; it featured ...

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Hiroshima: Spirit of the Season

Read "Spirit of the Season" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

The quality of a new holiday album depends on two factors: the presence of original or non-traditional songs, and atypical arrangements of traditional songs. Spirit of the Season , the new release by Japanese-American band Hiroshima, scores on both accounts. Fueled by East-meets-West juxtaposition of modern synthesizer and traditional Japanese koto, flute and percussion that's frequently underscored by exotic world beat rhythms, Spirit of the Season puts a multicultural spin on seven of the most popular Christmas songs, ...

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Hiroshima: Between Black & White

Read "Between Black & White" reviewed by Dave Hughes

The Japanese-American band Hiroshima's Windham Hill Jazz debut,Between Black and White, offers its most memorable moments when the band leans closer to its Japanese roots, such as on the ethereal "Dreams" the mysterious, percussive "Picasso's Dance," and the brief percussion-only interlude "Omo Tai." But on many other cuts, only June Kuramoto's koto saves the band from sounding like any generic, faceless contemporary ensemble. At one time, the band had a highly recognizable, energetic and personable sound, but on ...


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