Hiroshima – Departure

East Meets West contemporary jazz band Hiroshima
John Hilderbrand Avatar

Review of the contemporary jazz recording Departure by Hiroshima by John Hilderbrand

the contemporary jazz band HiroshimaI stopped writing reviews a few years ago. One of the major reasons is that I just didn’t have any new things to say. Fortunately, Hiroshima doesn’t have that problem. The group, led by Dan Kuramoto, continues to make their own East Meets West contemporary jazz. Departure, their 18th recording, is defined by its title. They are releasing this on their own. No record label marketing push or anything like that. They’re an indie band.

“Why Departure? Where do I begin? After more than 30 years in the recording industry — and almost four million records sold – we’ve decided to leave record companies behind and venture on our own,” Kuramoto explains. “It’s kinda scary, but given the changes in the music industry and what it’s now going to take for us to survive, we are moving toward direct contact with the community.”

album cover to Departure by HiroshimaWhat about the music? Kuramoto breaks it down: “It is a new beginning for us in many ways. The songs are all originals with just one guest artist, the incredible harmonica player Tetsuya “Tex” Nakamura, featured on the luscious opening track, “Have You Ever Wondered,” composed by June and Kimo. “Koto Cruise” is the second song and features a funky groove and a burning koto solo. “Blues for Sendai” is just that. There’s a tribute to our friend and mentor James Moody, who passed last December. It’s called “See You Again,” and there is a lot of ‘quoting’ from his “Moody’s Mood for Love.” After many years of requests, we have recorded our first full-on taiko solo ever, “Yamasong”–a live recording that really captures Shoji and Danny’s fierce interplay. “First Nation,” a composition by the Hawaiian Kimo Cornwell, is a powerhouse of a song embracing many cultures, as does our reincarnation of “Thousand Cranes.” The CD ends with a soulful version of “One Wish,” done as an acoustic trio.”

Consistent quality, a distinct sound, and longevity = win. If I were creating a Contemporary Jazz Hall of Fame, Hiroshima would certainly be an early inductee.

John Hilderbrand Avatar

3 responses to “Hiroshima – Departure”

  1. eman Avatar

    Good stuff, John, man you have really withstood the test of time dude…kinda like
    Hiroshima huh…lol
    Indeed the industry has changed so much…
    One thing about The Rippingtons and Hiroshima, you go back
    In time and listen to their music and really enjoy the experience.

    1. John Hilderbrand Avatar

      Great to hear from you, eman! It has been a while! Yeah, much has changed but I still love those years when my love of contemporary jazz was one of the things that defined me.

  2. David Jones Avatar
    David Jones

    Its so good to have the past (…I’m not gonna say ‘old’…) insight of doing-it-yourself (DIY) with so many people trying to make themselves quick internet stars with the next gimmick or trying to fast-track into the rap industry by trying to out-do the other guy/gal’ nastiness or tricky, fast tongue talking (Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Drake; PLEASE!!! What a bunch of boring, unoriginal individuals!!) . As a guy who grew up in the 60s-70s, through the R-n-B/cool school/bop movements and eventually fusion, I really like the way Hiroshima has decided to take their roots and experience and strike out on their own making more really great music that drew me to them since their premier ‘GO’. It just proves that following in the footsteps of Coltrane, Adderley, Davis and Miller is never bad, boring or unoriginal. I’m going to enjoy ‘Departure’ and do my best to feel again what I did when I was drawn to them in the first place.

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