Japanese jazz rock fusion band Kari Band have returned with a new mini album, Nimaime, their first release in three years and since the passing of their late guitarist Mikio Fujioka.
The album, whose title simply means “second piece,” is available now out side of Japan and Korea via JPU Records.
The album features various renown and iconic Japanese musicians: Satoshi Oka, Yusuke Hiraga and ISAO, keyboardist Tatsuya Nishiwaki, violinist Soari Hoshino, pianist Ai Kuwabara, and the horn section of the band Calmera.
Nimaime Track Listing:
1. Samurai Groove
3. Dancing Baloney
5. Cloud Funding
6. I See You
The band members, BHO and Yuya Maeta both commented on each of the tracks of this new album.
BOH’s comments on the tracks:
This was made as a sequel to “Ninja Groove” from our last release. I’d say the highlight is the guitar battle of Mikio Fujioka’s beloved disciples Satoshi Oka and Yusuke Hiraga. The theme of the guitar phrasing is a phrase that Mikio Fujioka had worked on from a rhythm track that I and Yuya Maeta had recorded in the studio. We had Satoshi Oka faithfully reproduce this. Please enjoy this unique Japanese style session.
We recorded this with ISAO-san and his eight-string guitar, and it’s the first time to have Soari Hoshino and her violin participate in a track. I really liked the tone that these two brought. The intro and the theme parts I play using a slap bass rhythm to give them a thick feeling. Hope you like the bewitching and sexy sound.
It starts with a solo that makes the most of my six-string bass, and then goes on to have a main bassline played using chords. I’m happy if you can feel the difference from regular bass play. This one’s technical and catchy.
Yuya Maeta said “Let’s play some fun funk”, and the next thing we know we’re making this track. This one was co-produced with Tatsuya Nishiwaki, resulting in a sophisticated and efficient sound. The horn section from Calmera is wonderful too. I think you can enjoy each performance in this easily.
This has a solid jazz taste that’s pushed to the front courtesy of Ai Kuwabara’s piano. The middle piano solo was recorded in one take, like “Jamrika” on our last release, and we selected the most suitable from around three takes. I hope you can feel the thrill and mature sound from the track’s unpredictable development.
I See You
I made this to capture my feelings about Mikio Fujioka. The melody is played with a twin lead consisting of a fretless bass and Tatsuya Nishiwaki on harmonica. The melody came to me in a dream, I remember scribbling down notes as soon as I woke up. I didn’t dare add guitar, I have to leave space for Mikio Fujioka to join us.
Yuya Maeta’s comments on the tracks:
It was really nice to have the opportunity to create something based on ideas left behind by Fujioka-sensei. From there we had heavy contribution from Satoshi Oka whose arrangement was fantastic. The track reflects the theme of “creating only necessary sound”, something I strive for throughout my work.
As our name suggests [Kari can mean “temporary” in Japanese], we’re flexible, able to change style or colour depending on whoever we’re playing with at that time. This may be one of our most obvious examples of this.
You could say that this work’s tune is a division of labour and I was responsible for the backbone of the composition. My image of this track is a big bowl of BOH ramen, he’s all over it. There are many developments, so I had to devise drums in such a way to maintain consistency.
This track I was primarily responsible for. I’m often playing session music with increasingly complex rhythms and chord progression, so this time I wanted to create something I can just enjoy myself playing without being too challenging. Tatsuya Nishiwaki’s great arrangement and Carmela’s sections were my ideal conclusion to this track. It would make me so happy to hear young children and students performing this track in the future.
I think there are several types of songs in the world. Some to express something, some to enjoy, etc. This track was made with expression in mind. Ai Kuwabara’s wonderful piano deepens that expression while also leaving a unique impression on the listener that’s likely different for each person. Out of all the tracks, this was the most challenging.
I See You
This is the most specialised track on the release. I have no words to describe this track. Tatsuya Nishiwaki did a magnificent job arranging this. Thank you so much.
By Antonio Villaseñor-Baca