Hironobu Saito (g), Walter Smith III (ts), Aaron Parks (p, Fender Rhodes), Yasushi Nakamura (b), Kendrick Scott (d) with Gretchen Parlato (vcl), John Ellis (ss, bcl), Machiko Ozawa (violin)
Bar code: 8427328423267
The third of the works Japanese guitarist Hironobu Saito has recorded for Fresh Sound New Talent, follows that original meditative smooth groove which his previous CD introduced (The Sea FSNT-266). While tenor saxophonist Walter Smith, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura are again present, pianist Aaron Parks gives this time a more impressive jazzy support to the electric and acoustic formats this set runs, an album completely penned by the guitarist, except for a special reading of the standard I Wish I Knew. As an anecdote, Hironobu Saito is endorsed by Ibanez Guitar.
"Guitarist and composer Hironobu Saito is from Miyazaki, Japan. In 1990 he won an award at a teen music festival, and soon afterwards, he began his professional career playing at various clubs throughout Japan. After graduating from Otani University in Kyoto, he won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in 1999. He has studied with various artists such as Joe Lovano, Mick Goodrick, Hal Crook, Richie Hart, Mark Whitfield, Adam Rodgers, Kiyohito Koizumi and others.
He has played and recorded with artists such as pianists Geoff Keezer, Stephen Scott, Robert Glasper, Danny Grisett, Aaron Parks and Dan Kaufman; vibraphonists Joe Locke and Warren Wolf; trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Sean Jones; drummers Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland, Quincy Davis, John Lamkin and Marty Morell; bassists Dwayne Burno, Marco Panascia and Luques Curtis; saxophonists Walter Smith, John Ellis and Jaleel Shaw; and guitarists Lionel Loueke and Peter Bernstein.
In 2002 he acted as a representative for the Berklee Guitar Department, and toured Japan as a cultural exchange event in Kyoto City. Hiro was the recipient of the Berklee Guitar Department Achievement Award, and in October 2003, he placed 2nd in the Gibson Jazz Guitar Competition. He has been featured in magazines such as Swing Journal, Jazz Life and the Jazz Guitar Book, the website allaboutjazz.com, and many others.
In 2004, he recorded his first CD, The Remaining 2% with Darren Barrett, John Lamkin, Walter Smith, Milton Fletcher and Yasushi Nakamura. In 2006, he recorded The Sea, featuring Walter Smith, Gretchen Parlato, Milton Fletcher, Yasushi Nakamura and Eric Harland; appeared on Maya's Kiss of Life, on Columbia Records. In 2007, he recorded his single CD called "Jungle" and joined Takaya's Afroyoker house mix for Gospel singer Su Su Bobiens Set Free and Stevie Wonder's house remix of "As." He also translated Kurt Rosenwinkel's book Kurt Rosenwinkel Compositions and Jon Damian's book The Guitarist's Guide to Composing and Improvising from English to Japanese. In 2008, he recorded his third CD, The Rain, with Walter Smith, John Ellis, Gretchen Parlato, Machiko Ozawa, Aaron Parks, Yasushi Nakamura and Kendrick Scott."