World & Latin

East Meets West

17 AUG 09 JOHN C. BRUENING

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Hiroshima. Not the ill-fated Japanese city whose annihilation marked the end of World War II. That was more than 60 years ago. The other Hiroshima -- the contemporary jazz band that embodies musical and cultural harmony by combining elements of traditional Japanese music and Latin percussion within an American jazz framework -- celebrates three decades of multi-genre and multicultural exploration with the Aug. 18 release of Legacy on Heads Up.

With founding members Dan Kuramoto (saxophone) and June Kuramoto (koto) at the helm of the current lineup, Legacy takes the old and makes it new again by reinterpreting eleven songs from the first ten years of Hiroshima's body of work. Each track is re-recorded by the band's current six-member lineup with assistance from four guest artists.

High points include the ethereal and sweeping arrangement of the opening track, "Winds of Change," as well as the vastly expanded version of "Another Place," which started out as a three-minute track on the 1985 album of the same name. The set closes with the valedictory "Thousand Cranes," a prayer for peace that lays an exotic koto melody on top of a jazz framework and comes up with a ballad that's both traditional and contemporary in its structure, but also forward thinking in its theme.

"These songs are as fresh and meaningful to us today as they were the first time they were recorded," said Dan Kuramoto. "They're not of a particular genre. They are our musical heart... Throughout each piece, you can hear the echoes of all the experiences that have influenced us along the way."

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    Winds of Change

    Hiroshima, from Legacy