Brandon Sanders - Compton’s Finest

Album of the Week, 02-13-24

Jun Iida – Evergreen

Released January 19, 2024
OA2 Records

Jun Iida – Trumpet
Aubrey Johnson – Vocals
Masam Kuroki – Guitar
Josh Nelson – Piano, Rhodes
Jonathan Richards – Bass
Xavier LeCouturier – Drums

Trumpeter Jun Iida’s warm, inviting tone, astute composition choices and his sublime sense of melody lead the way on his debut recording. After five years in Los Angeles and three in Seattle, Evergreen memorializes the musical focus and development that transpired over those years, as he moves on to new adventures in New York. Recorded in Los Angeles, Jun brought together L.A. friends Josh Nelson on piano, guitarist Masami Kuroki and bassist Jonathan Richards, along with the dynamic Seattle drummer Xavier Lecouturier. New York vocalist Aubrey Johnson brilliantly adds to Jun’s soaring melodies with her often wordless vocals, and sings in Japanese on a song from Jun’s childhood, “Akatombo,” and the J-pop anime song “Shiki no Uta,” both in a nod to Jun’s family heritage. Between the swinging “Gooey Butter Cake” and “Bellarosa,” to the haunting “Theme from Spartacus,” or the spacious title track, Jun shares a sparkling and compelling message that’s sure to resonate.

“…uniquely contemporary yet forward leaning. Iida’s solos are elegant and engrossing while the band is given moments to shine to make the entire album a treat.”

– Slang of Ages

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Each week, WDNA music director, Michael Valentine shares his album of the week. Michael’s picks often focus on new jazz releases, but sometimes dip into history with notable and classic releases worth revisiting.

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