Hiroshi Fukumura

Live: First Flight

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Released by King's Art Union imprint on CD (finally), this import date shows the great Japanese trombonist Hiroshi Fukumura in a live setting with his unusual but trademark quintet lineup featuring the other front-line trombonist Shigeharu Mukai, bassist Tsutomu Okada, drummer Shinji Mori, and pianist Hiroshi Tamura. The program is simply four lengthy swinging tunes that rely as much on the modal jazz of the second Miles Davis Quintet as they do on progressive jazz from the hip European bands of the era (Francy Boland's great sextet, for one). The tunes feature a beautiful original by Fukumura in "Waltz for M," a lengthy and wildly inventive reading of Jimmy Van Heusen's "Nancy," and a slightly Latin reading of Johnny Mandel's "The Shadow of Your Smile," closing with a spirited take on the great Jiggs Whigham's trombone showcase "Mother Some Place," with its Latin groove, funky undertones, and complete late-'60s MPS label-type groove. This one won't be around for long, but is well worth seeking out for 'bone fans.

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