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Take an early listen to Takuya Kuroda's new late night modern jazz

An album cover, a man stands alone at a distance in a parking lot at night.
Photo by Chikara Umihara
Clandestine Label Services
Trumpeter Takuya Kuroda releases his new album Midnight Crisp October 21

Following up his pandemic-era album Fly Moon Die Soon, produced mostly on his own, trumpeter Takuya Kuroda presents a new album celebrating a return to the nightlife. Midnight Crisp furthers Kuroda's unique modern jazz blend with hip hop and electronic fusion styles. He also welcomes back friends like trombonist Corey King with a more collaborative effort that shines like a set of streetlights at the end of a lonely road.

Midnight Crisp has the sound of a band working out the musical shape of songs together in the same room. The assertive playing of Kuroda and King shows two players not just complementing each other but inspiring each other's creative decisions. The addition of saxophonist Craig Hill as a fulltime member of the band brings terrific solos as well as a softer edge to the brassy arrangements.

Songs like the spaced out "Time Coil" and the ballad "Choy Soda" show off keyboardist Takahiro Izumikawa's talents in creating modern audio textures that bring a wonderful after-party vibe to Kuroda's ensemble. However, aside from the straight-ahead soul jazz feeling of "It's Okay," the horns take nearly all of the improvisation space on Midnight Crisp.

Corey King again lends his singing voice to Kuroda's band on "Choy Soda." Breathy and romantic, King keeps it simple with just two lines repeated as a mantra. As the band heats up with solos from Hill and drummer Adam Jackson, Kuroda's own shouted vocals exclaiming his choice of beverage wrap up the song. One can imagine an audience crying out for Choy Soda in live performances.

The first single, "Midnight Crisp" opens with an odd keyboard riff underlaid with electric bass and drums while the horns enter together with phrases that perfectly compliment the rhythm section. The three horns rise from a serpentine melody to a thrilling crescendo. The following groove opens up solo space for Kuroda and Hill, finally ending abruptly as if those lonely streetlights suddenly turned off.

Fans can download the title track now and Kuroda has also released "Time Coil" with an accompanying video. The complete six-song album will be available October 21. Takuya Kuroda tours Europe this Fall, stay connected to The New Cool for news of his concerts in the Northwest when we hear it!

The New Cool airs Fridays at 9 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Washington. LISTEN ON DEMAND

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Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.