25 October 2017
Post 561: JAPAN COMES TO NEW ORLEANS
Haruka Kikuchi, the great young Japanese trombonist who settled in New Orleans in 2014, has been busy both as a record producer and as a player in the last couple of years. She has produced a series (at present five 'volumes') of recordings under the general title 'JAPAN: NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION'.
What has happened is this: several of her Japanese jazzing colleagues have visited her in New Orleans over the past months and she has taken advantage of the opportunity to get them into a New Orleans recording studio, together with some of the local musicians, in order to record a few tunes.
By November 2017, she will have released the fifth Volume in this series.
I think this fifth volume could be the loveliest, to judge from the one sample track that I have so far been able to hear. Haruka uses just a quartet (see the photo above); and what a terrific team they are! Molly Reeves (guitar and vocals) and Joshua Gouzy (bass) are a super pair to provide the chords and rhythmic backing, as well as an occasional solo chorus. And Haruka herself, with the wonderful Makiko Tamura (currently considered by many of us one of the most talented and tasteful clarinet players in the world) produce delightful interplay in the 'front line'. The tune I have been able to hear is I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now, which is played through twice as a waltz before breaking into 4/4 time. Makiko takes the lead on the melody in the first chorus. This is such a beautiful and appealing performance, that I feel sure the other three tunes on the recording will be well worth hearing too. They are Give It Up, Burgundy Street Blues - wow, I bet Makiko will be brilliant on that - and Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor - which I know Molly has often sung beautifully.
I found the necessary information on all the above at:
Also already available is Volume 4, in which Haruka uses a 6-piece combination which is most unusual in having no banjo or guitar or clarinet or trumpet or saxophone. What it offers is a feast for trombone enthusiasts, as the entire 'front line' comprises three trombonists! They are Shoichi Yamada and David L. Harris as well as Haruka herself. However, they do not get in each other's way, as you might expect. The music is well arranged and disciplined. It is quite something to hear Royal Garden Blues and When My Dreamboat Comes Home played by 'massed' trombones!