Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Takuya Kuroda plots new, cool path for jazz trumpet in KNKX studio session

Takuya Kuroda is a humble artist. When told the interview would be with just him, Kuroda expressed a little embarrassment, saying he didn't want his bandmates to feel subordinate. Making his Seattle debut as a bandleader at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Kuroda was a confident leader in a KNKX studio session performance of his original music.

To be sure, everyone in Kuroda's band is worthy of his praise. Craig Hill made a strong impression on saxophone, bringing a strong new element to a band that has matched trumpet with Corey King's trombone for more than a decade.

It was his big brother's trombone and love for big bands that first inspired Kuroda, but when he first arrived on the New York scene, his mind was blown.

"It was Robert Glasper, Keyon Harrold and all those 'monsters' from this generation. And then I had to come here to see and learn what was going on," Kuroda said.

Since his 2014 break-out- album Rising Son, produced by vocalist Jose James, Takuya Kuroda has moved further into the world of producing and adding programmed elements to his music.

He said thinking about production has changed the way he writes music, but he still uses a clever composing trick.

"I started trying to not write down the melody that I came up with and go to sleep. Next day, if you still remember the melody, then give it a go."

Kuroda has already gone into the studio. His next album is nearly finished, and Kuroda credited his drummer, David Frazier, for helping get the right drum sound. "When it comes to production," Kuroda explained, "the sound of drums is the most important when you're producing music like this."

Along with Frazier and Hill, bassist Kyle Miles kept the band snugly inside the pocket. Takahiro Izumikawa did double duty, ripping through dramatic solos on piano and adding sonic textures on synthesizer.

Takuya Kuroda and his band had a great time in the KNKX studios, and his bandmates weren't at all upset to give this incredibly talented trumpeter the spotlight.


  • Takuya Kuroda - trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Craig Hill - saxophone
  • Takahiro Izumikawa - keyboards
  • Kyle Miles - bass
  • David Frazier - drums


  1. Midnight Crisp
  2. Mala
  3. It's OK
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.
Related Stories