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Spirit of the Season by Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a fascinating group of highly talented musicians Asian-American blend, melded with an Afro-California twist, giving them universal appeal.

Formed in 1974 by Dan and June Kuramoto, Hiroshima enjoyed a hit on their first single, Roomful of Mirrors, and DaDa,creating a following in Metro DC and Philly. In 1980, they won a Grammy nomination with Odori.

One Wish became a gold record in 1985, followed by Go which topped the Billboard Jazz Chart, winning a Soul Train Award for Best Jazz Album of 1987.

They also toured with Miles Davis and did a tribute to him with Time on the Nile. before doing a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky.

Spirit of the Season brings into the fold: Hawaiian keyboardist Kimo Cornwell, drummer Danny Yamamoto, bassist Dean Cortez, guitarist Michael Sasaki, percussionist Richie "Gajate" Garcia and vocalist Terry Steele.

Spirit of the Season delivers traditional holiday songs in a very un-traditional fashion. But, that is just what one would expect of the multicultural, multitalented group, Hiroshima.

Smooth, soulful vocalist, Terry Steele, leads off with the title song, Spirit of the Season, an original written by Kuramoto to share the reason for the season. It’s all about spirit and caring for each other.

Traditionals, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,and Little Drummer Boy are accentuated with June Kuramoto playing koto, transcending the ordinary taking these tunes to another level of enjoyment.

While the koto plays clear and precise, Dr. DH Johnson accompanies with occasional hot trumpet blowing. Hitting the deeper notes is Ira Nepus on trombone.

Little Drummer Boy is done with impeccable timing, making each note delightful. Dan Kuramoto plays an airy flute and shakuhachi. Danny Yamamoto slow rolls the snare drum. He also plays taiko, along with Johnny Mori.

Dan Kuramoto plays alto flute in a deliberate, moving expo, backing June Kuramoto on koto on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Kimo Cornwell plays piano, adding dimension to this holiday tradition.

Listen (to the falling snow), composed by Dan Kuramoto, brings a fresh sound to his alto sax, in a moving, yet thoughtful arrangement. A nice tempo is kept by Riche "Gajate" Garcia on congas and percussion.

Another original, Thousand Cranes is composed by Jane Kuramoto and Derek Nakamoto. Leading with koto, June is joined by Terry Steele in a soft, gentle tone, telling of a shared love, backed by 54th Street Choir.

Instruments played in addition to traditional western gear are: koto a stringed instrument, giving that distinct Asian flavor to a song. Shakuhachi is a five holed bamboo flute and taiko is a drum.

Now with Heads Up Hiroshima is again making news world wide with their multi-cultural appeal.

According to Dan Kuramoto, "Every Hiroshima record is an attempt to reflect the diversity of our society. That diversity is the heart and soul of our music."

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Hiroshima
  • CD Title: Spirit of the Season
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Heads Up
  • Tracks: Spirit of the Season, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Little Drummer Boy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Listen (to the falling snow), White Christmas, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Peace on Earth, Winter Wonderland, Thousand Cranes, Silent Night
  • Rating: Five Stars
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