Whether moving from Japan to the U.S. or navigating between the influences of jazz, soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat and electronica, trumpeter/composer Takuya Kuroda has never followed a straight path. On his fifth studio album, the aptly named Zigzagger, Kuroda darts between those wide-ranging interests with a funky swagger and an intensely swinging vigor. His music takes into account the electronic innovations of artists like Flying Lotus and J Dilla, while remaining true to the window-rattling funk and soul-stirring grooves which forcefully carry on the tradition.
Zigzagger is the latest stop along a serpentine path that began in Kobe, Japan, where Kuroda followed his trombonist brother into the local music scene. He moved to the U.S. and graduated from the New School’s Jazz and Contemporary Music program in 2006. It was during his time at the New School that Kuroda befriended José James, appearing on two of the singer’s albums and writing horn arrangements for his album, 2013’s No Beginning No End.
James returned the favor by producing Kuroda’s 2014 release Rising Son. That album followed three earlier independent releases: Bitter and High in 2006, Edge in 2011 and Six Aces in 2012. Crossing into the world of hip-hop, he’s been playing with and writing arrangements for the legendary DJ Premier, half of the ground-breaking duo Gang Starr.
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