Special Guests The English Project & Paradigm Shift

Sat 22 Apr

7:00 pm



This event is all ages


Touring now in support of his newly released studio album "Zigzagger", Xerox Rochester International JazzFest artist Takuya Kuroda returns to Rochester with his world class band to perform at Anthology. His new record, aptly named "Zigzagger" snakes between the opposing poles of acoustic and electric, with bristling grooves and blissed-out vibes, punchy brass and fluid synths, it carves its own distinctive sonic path along the way.

“Life is sometimes not that easy, sometimes not so difficult, and it should never go straight,” Kuroda says. “It’s always zigzagging. So I put my soul and spirit into that word.”

Though it wasn’t intentional on Kuroda’s part, the title also can’t help but evoke The Sidewinder, Lee Morgan’s 1964 that became one of the foundation stones of the then-burgeoning soul jazz style. Morgan has been a major influence on Kuroda as a player and as a conceptualist, and with Zigzagger the 36-year old trumpeter offers his own take on the state of the soul jazz art more than half a century later. His version takes into account the electronic innovations of artists like Flying Lotus and J Dilla, but the window-rattling funk and soul-stirring groove forcefully carry on the tradition.

Kuroda’s vision is realized with the help of his regular working band, most of them friends and collaborators for more than a decade since they were students together at New York City’s New School. They include trombonist Corey King, who also shows off his vocal chops on the simmering neo-soul tune “Do They Know;” bassist Rashaan Carter; drummer and percussionist Adam Jackson; and the band’s newest addition, keyboardist Takeshi Ohbayashi, who joined up in 2011. Three tracks bolster the band with master percussionist Keita Ogawa, who first crossed paths with Kuroda 20 years at jam sessions in their native Japan. Album closer “Think Twice” features the electrifying sounds of the popular Brooklyn Afrobeat band Antibalas.

Produced by Kuroda himself, Zigzagger is more purely an expression of his own distinctive approach. It maintains the unified style and infectious grooves of his earlier work, but mixes things up with more eclectic, shifting inspirations and perspectives. “When I write music I see a lot of elements and put them in different places, with different angles, a lot of counterpoint and strong melodies,” Kuroda explains. “It’s always easy to sing to, but has something like advanced changes underneath, kind of hidden so that people don’t get confused by the difficult elements. But it’s there. Musicians always tell me my music is easy to listen to but difficult to play.”

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 breakthrough album, 2013’s No Beginning No End.

James returned the favor by producing Kuroda’s 2014 Blue Note release Rising Son. That album followed three earlier independent releases: Bitter and High in 2006, Edge in 2011 and Six Aces in 2012. He’s become an active member of the diverse and vibrant NYC jazz scene, playing with the likes of José James, Akoya Afrobeat, Jesse Fischer, and others. 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.
Venue Information:
336 East Avenue
Rochester, NY, 14604