Heads Up (HUCD 3098)

Dan Kuramoto, tenor and soprano saxophones, flutes, shakuhachi, keyboards; June Kuramoto, koto; Kimo Cornwell, piano, keyboards; Danny Yamamoto, drums; Dean Cortez, bass; Shoji Kameda, taiko, percussion; with additional musicians

In Asian culture, OBON is a time of tribute and reflection, a time to honor and remember friends, relatives and ancestors who have died.

With their latest release, entitled OBON, the L.A.-based, Asian-American group Hiroshima remembers, celebrates, and pays tribute to the musicians, places and events that have inspired them. This CD release also marks the group's 25th year anniversary of their recording career and the 60th anniversary of the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The 11 instrumental tracks, all original compositions, offer up the group's signature blend of Eastern and Western sound, artfully blending traditional Japanese instruments like the koto, shakuhachi and taiko drum with traditional Jazz instrumentation. The effect is pure magic - a sound deeply rooted in Jazz, but one that is uniquely Hiroshima: fresh, contemporary and connective. The music on this CD is alternately smooth, moving, pensive, soulful, joyous, funky, evocative, and deeply satisfying.

OBON celebrates the diversity that is at the heart of Hiroshima and is a great addition to any music collection.

by Linda Goshay