As they approach 40 years into their career, no one’s yet been able to match the signature sound of the Asian-influenced jazz band Hiroshima.
Featuring the extraordinary koto virtuoso June Kuramoto — noted by bassist Stanley Clarke as the world’s greatest — the ensemble seamlessly integrates traditional Japanese instruments into its smooth-as-silk blend of R&B, pop, rock, funk, salsa and world music.
They’ve toured with Miles Davis, had several Grammy nominations and multiple gold records — selling over 4 million worldwide — and continue to tour and produce truly innovative music.
With a rare L.A. area appearance, Hiroshima brings a brand new show, including songs from keyboard wiz Kimo Cornwell’s new CD, “Hawaii State of Mind,” and Kuramoto’s “Under the Stars,” and a hip selection of tunes from the band’s 23 CDs, plus a special guest or two.
“We look back and realize that we’ve covered a lot of ground in nearly 40 years,” band co-founder Dan Kuramoto told The Rafu. “We see music as a dynamic art form, and for us and hopefully our community, we evolve but continue the arc of our cultures — as Asians and Americans. Right now we live in a dangerous time and at some point in every show we try to address it as people of color and as musicians led by a phenomenal woman artist. We wear our colors proudly.”
Kuramoto added that the group keeps copies of every set list they play, to ensure varying the set each time they return to a city or venue.
“That’s where the luxury of having so many songs, or a ‘book’ as we call it, really helps,” he explained.
With nearly four decades of touring and recording under their collective belt, Kuramoto said the passion for music and community is what continues to drive Hiroshima.
“When we started in 1979, we had heard that many in our own record company thought that we would never sell records. Their perception that ‘Asians don’t sing or dance’ was part of the prevailing racism that still exists,” he said. “As Japanese Americans, we had a lot to share culturally, and led by June’s artistry we’ve tried to present it in a million different ways.
“We also had so much support from our JA community in our early days, which preceded our recording by several years. As we became more known across the country, black radio support helped us grow a tremendous black audience who support us to this day. Our brothers and sisters have not forgotten us, our music, our mission, or June.”
Plans for a Hiroshima 40th anniversary tour are up in the air for now, and Kuramoto said the band will take up the issue in due time.
“At this point, we’ll have to decide a year at a time,” he said.
Catch this one-of-a-kind band on Saturday, Oct. 6, at The Rose, 245 E. Green St., Pasadena. Doors open at 6 p.m. Opening sets by Axion and Hagen Jazz at 7 p.m. Hiroshima performs at 9 p.m.
Advance ticket sales are by phone: (818) 879-5016 or (888) 645-5006.
Note: There is a $10 facility charge per ticket on all phone orders.
Advance ticket sales also available on Ticketmaster with $20 service charge per ticket: https://wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com/events/hiroshima-pasadena/
In-person box office sales are available: Agoura Hills — Monday through Saturday, 11a.m. to 6 p.m.; Santa Clarita – daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets also available on day of show at The Rose’s box office, which will open at 6 p.m. Pasadena Box office is not staffed at any other time for Hiroshima sales.
Standing room tickets: $28 plus applicable fees. Reserved seating prices: $33, $38, $58 plus applicable fees. If sitting at a table you are required to purchase dinner. Food and/or beverage minimum is $25 per person.
For more information on the band, visit www.hiroshimamusic.com.