This weekâ€™s featured artists for the Chene Park Wednesday Concert Series were Hiroshima and Gerald Albright. When you review the combined history of both artists, they have been on the scene making music for a remarkable 60 plus years. Hiroshima took the stage first as Chene Park resonated with their unique sound that has attracted audiences for decades. Hiroshima is celebrating 30 years of touring and recording, which in this day and age is a minor miracle in the music industryâ€” especially for a jazz ensemble.
During Hiroshimaâ€™s set, founding member, Dan Kuramoto shared with the audience that one of Hiroshimaâ€™s goals was to [create music that was â€œhumaneâ€ and crossed cultural line.] He also stated that their music [is intended to have universal appeal across the color lines. He went on to say that loved performing in Detroit because of our appreciation of cross-cultures and colorsâ€”and that you canâ€™t truly have color with yellow,] which raised thunderous applause from the audience. Hiroshima has always been conscious of the human experience and some of the proceeds from tÂ heir concerts will go to aid relief efforts in Japan.
Performing some of their well-known hits, the set was a venture into their vast library of cutting edge music. Following their set, I hadÂ a brief interview with Mr. Kuramoto which covered a bit of the bandâ€™s history. During that conversation, I learned Hiroshima was the last band to tour with the legendary Miles Davis before he passed. Mr. Kuramoto shared that Miles told him that he picked them for the tour because they were doing â€œdifferent thingsâ€ in music and how he always looked for new and different levels in music. Coming from Miles Davis that is what every group wants to hear. Hiroshima is not only entertaining, but relaxing.Â For this writer, their music definitely is jazz and what jazz can and should be.
Gerald Albright the headliner for the evening opened his set with one of his classics, â€œBermuda Nightâ€™s.â€ Later in the show he paid homage to Luther Vandross with a beautiful rendition of â€œSo Amazing;â€ a hit from his debut album, â€œJust Between Us.â€ The man hit notes that brought the crowd to itâ€™s feetâ€”playing a little funk, soul, and a whole
lot of jÂ azz. Gerald Albright along with his trio gave a performance that was nothing less than memorable. Sometimes when you finally see an artist in concert, the CDs you have just donâ€™t do the artist justice. This was the case with Gerald Albright.
Before his set I had a chance to ask Mr. Albright a few questions. While doing a little research on Mr. Albright I learned that saxophone was not the first instrument he learned to play. When I asked him about that he explained his piano teacher gave him his first saxophone and it spoke to him. He shared that though it was not easy for him to learn the sax, he has a love for the instrument that cannot be deniedâ€”which is obvious when you hear him play. Gerald also plays bass and on an occasion, finished on a Patrice Rushen tour on that instrument when the bass
player left in the middle of the tour.
During his show he displayed his skills on the saxophone. Playing a wide rang of hits from his older CDs to his latest release, â€œPushing the Envelope,â€ which received a Grammy nod for Best Pop Instrumental Album 2010! Gerald Albright is more than a jazz artist he is an all around entertainer.
Norvell Molex Jr.