From the opening gong, you know you're in for a treat with Obon. Marking Hiroshima's 25th anniversary, the new disc is the Japanese-American group's first without vocals—save a wordless chant by Shoji Kameda on "Obon Two-Five. Formed by Dan and June Kuramoto (the only Japanese native in the group) in 1979, Hiroshima has successfully blended traditional Japanese sounds with North American pop, soul, R&B, and of course jazz.
Hiroshima, a group whose music falls between R&B, pop, world music, and jazz, has long had its own niche. The band integrates traditional Japanese instruments into their musical blend and has generally been both commercial and creative within its genre.