April 16, 2018
There’s certainly no shortage of self-confidence in a musician who decides to subtitle an album New Kind of Jazz, as does Hiroaki Honshuku on the third release by his jazz fusion band Racha Fora. The group does possess a distinctive sound, to be sure, in large part due to its instrumentation: with Honshuku the dominant presence on flute, piccolo or EWI, he’s joined by violinist Rika Ikeda and electric guitarist Andre Vasconcelos, who provides a lot of the rhythmic thrust behind the group’s music, particularly essential given that there isn’t a conventional drummer or bassist on the album. Instead, the principal rhythm duties are shared by cajon players Harvey Wirht and Sebastian Chiriboga, who alternate on the album’s ten cuts. Without a traditional rhythm section, a special premium is placed on the lead instrumentalists to carry the weight of the music. It’s a brave choice to go this route, and we can credit Honshuku’s intrepid spirit in doing so.