Keisuke Nakamura: Humadope 2
Humadope 2 from trumpeter Keisuke Nakamura features his quintet playing modern jazz originals with unsupressible energy. With a slightly different lineup as on his debut album Humadope (2014), the human/mad/dope sound is the same: fresh and boiling, jazzy and nonstop.
No doubt Nakamura’s vision extends through the material, from the steampunk-ish cover to the song titles that describe a fantastical, searching aesthetic. And, of course, this influence carries through to the music, artfully composed with originality and serving as a beautiful post-bop platform for each musician’s improvisation.
Although this is a trumpet leader’s album, Nakamura has always been generous, and each musician gets plenty of space to shine. There are plenty of blistering sax solos, aggressively gripping piano, and nimble and heavy bass and drum rhythms (plus, both bassist Kanamori and drummer Takemura not only lock in the solid foundation but also take solos as well.)
The songwriting does have a Humadope flavor throughout. On modern jazz frames that would fit a Jazz Messengers model, there are twin harmony lines played out by trumpet and sax in daredevil curves and with just dissonance for a spicy edge. Time signatures and rhythmic hooks are catchy, with a cleverly unpredictable quality to throw off the stability of typical musical patterns. Bass hooks and staggered melodies launch and segment in creative places. Another Humadope trademark is the occasional short musical machine-gun style break riff used to ramp up excitement and grab attention through repeated short phrases or a series of single notes between sections of a song.
The whole album is filled with great moments, and picking favorites depends on the day. Current highlights include:
“Space Boy”, hinting at the innovative combos of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Wynton Marsalis.
The unignorable funky swing on “So Nice!!”, with its rhythmic space and gaps that imbue a catchy groove with playful surprise.
“North Kingdom” and its interfacing stairstep structures and magical qualities masquerading as a ballad.
“Genseirin”, the tumbling syncopated masterpiece with a free jazz section and coordinated outro section. This track in particular song contains the most creatively arranged music on the album, a magnificent compositional form and sound reminiscent of the great Wayne Shorter’s ideas.
“Sense of Mission”, with its tense speed and rhythm hooks, staccato chops, and searing solos.
Humadope 2 by Keisuke Nakamura
Keisuke Nakamura - trumpet, flugelhorn
Akihiro Yoshimoto - tenor sax, flute
Ami Ogaeri - piano
Motoi Kanamori - bass
Ittetsu Takemura - drums
Released in 2019 on ANTXDEDE as ANTXDEDE-3105.
Japanese names: Keisuke Nakamura 中村恵介 (Nakamura Keisuke) Akihiro Yoshimoto 吉本章紘 (Yoshimoto Akihiro) Ami Ogaeri 魚返明未 (Ogaeri Ami) Motoi Kanamori 金森もとい (Kanamori Motoi) Ittetsu Takemura 竹村一哲 (Takemura Ittetsu)
Audio and Video
Excerpt from “Sense of Mission”, track #7 on this album: