JazzTimes - p.77
"[T]he superbly soulful vocalist Terry Steele is a great choice to update such light-pop fare like 'Save Yourself for Me.'"
Hiroshima (Jazz Group): June Kuramoto (vocals, koto); Dan Kuramoto (vocals, shakuhachi); Kimo Cornwell (piano, keyboards); Dean Cortez (bass guitar); Danny Yamamoto (drums, percussion); Shoji Kameda (percussion).
Over thirty years, Hiroshima has established a singularly unique musical footprint in contemporary ethnic jazz fusion. Combining funky beats with synthesizers and their native Japanese instruments the koto and taiko drums, the group has become quite popular worldwide even though their name is a reminder of a sorry incident in history. This collection is one of several the group have planned to celebrate their three decades together, in this instance remaking music from their first ten years via a fresh perspective. As co-leaders, multi-instrumentalist Dan Kuramoto and koto player June Kuramoto continue to give the ensemble their multi-cultural core values while retaining the rich traditions of the Asian homeland with current day American backbeat rhythms. At their heaviest, "Dada" sports a rock type guitar, while "I've Been Here Before" is lighter and more soulful. "East" has an interactive quality due to its minimalism via a marimba synthesizer and the acoustic piano playing of Kimo Cornwell, "Hawaiian Electric" is the best jam and very upbeat, and the taiko drums played by Shoji Kameda during "Another Place" contrasts with the funk beat, and congeals with the shakuhachi flute of Dan Kuramoto. Terry Steele sings on the blatant ooh-yeah pop tune "Save Yourself For Me," and a Philly soul element is used for the slow ballad "Roomful Of Mirrors". This music tends to be a bit grandiose as "Winds Of Change" demonstrates, but there's enough diversity with the soprano, tenor sax or flute of Dan Kuramoto, and the absolutely lovely koto work of June Kuramoto, including a fair amount of improvising, to make this music relatively interesting. Fans of Hiroshima will want this collection to hear how these pieces have evolved from their initial recordings, and newcomers can be equally pleased.