Hiroshima – The Bridge
(Heads Up – 2003)
by Ricky Miller
Straight from East L.A. with a touch of the far east, Hiroshima comes strong with The Bridge. Eternal Phoenix starts it off from the far east, this smooth jazz track has intricate percussions and funky beat sliced with eastern flutes, reminiscent of Was Not Was. The next track covers the Isley Brother’s hit Caravan of Love and is perhaps even better than the original. With a strong vocal performance by Terry Steele it’s sure to hit the Urban and R&B charts hard. Shaka Phonk goes back to the lilting, airy groove Hiroshima is known for, spiced up with some T.O.P.-like horns. Believe, my favorite on the CD, features Steele’s soulful vocals again beautifully accompanied by Danny and June Kuramoto on flute and Koto. That and I Just Wanna Hang Around You are the only covers on the CD, and both are rendered in Hiroshima’s inimitable, airy style.
Starting out faintly reminiscent of an old War track, Revelation evolves into it’s own funkiness, all aultry horns and saxy keyboards and soulful vocalizations. Manzanar sounds a little too familiar, too Hiroshima. I liken it to ‘cookie cutter’ tracks that sound good and have the trademark style, but are not exceptional. Viven has some interesting sax work as well as having a very ‘world’ feel to it. Sanju slips back into the groove that started the CD off, mellow and sweet. Seven Rivers closes things with a funky poetry thing that builds and climbs until it’s a cacaphony of percussion and voices that pound and thrump all around you. Very Powerful.
Overall this release ranks among Hiroshima’s best, combining their jazz flavor with eastern stylings and R&B drive to create their own interesting blend of music. This is a keeper.