June 24 is another Big Tuesday for excellent music. I wrote quite a bit about the Blue Note release Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note earlier this week. While you’re at the store checking that out on Tuesday, you might as well pick up the other two releases out that day: Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet by “saxophonics wizard” Skerik and The Bridge by Hiroshima.
Skerik is the reedman on the Garage a Trois CD released a couple of months ago. He’s also featured on Stanton Moore’s 2002 debut solo recording Flyin’ the Koop, plays with Critters Buggin (which should make a girl I knew in college happy – what was her name?), and is a founding member of Tuatara. Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet comes to you from the always good Ropeadope label.
The East-meets-West fusion of Hiroshima returns with “the most uptempo record we’ve ever done,” according to the band’s leader Dan Kuramoto. The title of the CD refers to the group’s efforts over their 20 years together to build or cross bridges. One of those bridges Hiroshima has crossed is the trend toward sameness that permeates the rosters of major labels. Their refusal to be assimilated into a canned sound has cost them radio airplay and made it difficult to find a quality label. Heads Up has stepped up to pick them up (a similar move the label did for Yellowjackets). As always, part of the uniqueness of the band comes for the unparalleled koto playing of June Kuramoto. On the new CD, look for the rest of the group to make their presence known.