Ascendant trumpeter & composer Takuya Kuroda makes his Blue Note debut with the February 18 release of Rising Son, produced by José James. The album finds Kuroda stepping forth to helm James’ remarkable band (keyboardist Kris Bowers, bassist Solomon Dorsey, drummer Nate Smith, trombonist Corey King) plus vocal contributions from James (“Everybody Loves The Sunshine”) & a guest appearance from imaginative guitarist Lionel Loueke (“Afro Blues”). Listen to the track premiere of "Afro Blues" on The Revivalist!
In addition to anchoring James’ horn section for the past several years, the 33-year-old Japanese-born, Brooklyn-based Kuroda has been leading his own bands and has self-released and self-produced three previous albums. While on the road with James in support of the singer’s recent Blue Note debut No Beginning No End he let James listen to some of his newer material. James enjoyed it but wanted to hear more of Kuroda’s playing and so the idea developed to have James produce the next album.
“No one sounds like Takuya,” says James. “His tone, warmth and most of all his storytelling have inspired me for years. His writing is soulful, modern, and effortlessly bridges the gap between jazz and soul, and between history and tomorrow.”
Afrobeat rhythms play a crucial role throughout Rising Son, reflective of Kuroda’s six-year participation in the New York-based Afrobeat ensemble, Akoya. Afrobeat’s entrancing shuffle propels several of the album’s tracks including the tantalizing “Afro Blues,” one of the album’s six original tunes on which Kuroda’s spiky trumpet melody with urban swagger evokes Lee Morgan, one of Kuroda’s significant influences along with Clifford Brown and Miles Davis. The album also features two Roy Ayers’ gems – “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and “Green & Gold.”