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Takuya Kuroda

Trumpeter Takuya Kuroda is an inventive, boundary-pushing musician known for his cross-pollinated mix of post-bop, soul-jazz, and hip-hop. Following his initial emergence playing alongside singer José James in the 2010s, Kuroda garnered buzz with his own ambitious albums like 2014's James-produced Rising Son and 2016's Zigzagger. Born in 1980 in Kobe, Japan, Kuroda followed his older trombonist brother into the local music scene, playing in big bands. After studying music in Japan, he relocated to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music, where he befriended singer José James. From there, he moved to New York City, enrolling in the New School's Jazz and Contemporary Music program. By the time he graduated in 2006, Kuroda had ensconced himself in the vibrant N.Y.C. jazz scene, performing with such artists as Junior Mance, Greg Tardy, Andy Ezrin, Jiro Yoshida, Akoya Afrobeat, Valery Ponomarev's big band, and others. As a leader, Kuroda debuted with a handful of independently produced albums, including 2010's Bitter & High, 2011's Edge, and 2012's Six Aces, all of which found him playing an aggressive style of acoustic hard bop. He also garnered attention with appearances on several of singer James' albums, including 2010's Blackmagic and 2014's No Beginning No End -- for which he also wrote the horn arrangements. Based in part on his work with James, Kuroda signed with Blue Note Records and recorded his third solo album, the James-produced Rising Son. Released in 2014, the record featured a strong soul-jazz and hip-hop influence exemplified by the presence of several Roy Ayers compositions including "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," which featured James on vocals. In 2016, Kuroda returned with his fifth solo album, and first for Concord, Zigzagger. Producing on his own, the trumpeter expanded upon his funk-, fusion-, and hip-hop-influenced sound with another set of mostly original compositions. Included on the album was a collaboration with New York Afro-beat ensemble Antibalas on a reworking on Donald Byrd's song "Think Twice." He then continued his creative association with James, supplying horn parts for the singer's 2018 album Lean on Me. Kuroda's Fly Moon Die Soon arrived in August 2020 and found him exploring an even more expansive cross-over sound. Recorded in Brooklyn with producer Todd Carder, the album featured guest vocals by Corey King and Alina Engibaryan and included covers of Ohio Players' "Sweet Sticky Thing" and Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story."
© Matt Collar /TiVo


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