Ascendant trumpeter and composer Takuya Kuroda makes his Blue Note debut with the release of Rising Son, which was produced by José James. Kuroda, who is best known for his inspired presence in James' band, steps forth here to helm that remarkable band which features keyboardist Kris Bowers, electric bassist Solomon Dorsey, drummer Nate Smith, and trombonist Corey King. James mostly stayed on the other side of the glass in the producer s chair except for a hypnotic version of the Roy Ayers classic Everybody Loves The Sunshine to which he lends his captivating baritone. The imaginative guitarist Lionel Loueke also contributes a bluesy, percussive solo to one of the album s standout tracks Afro Blues. No one sounds like Takuya, says James. His tone, warmth and most of all his storytelling have inspired me for years. His writing is soulful, modern, and effortlessly bridges the gap between jazz and soul, and between history and tomorrow. Afrobeat rhythms play a crucial role throughout Rising Son, reflective of Kuroda s six-year participation in the New York-based Afrobeat ensemble, Akoya. Afrobeat s entrancing shuffle propels several of the album s tracks including the tantalizing Afro Blues, one of the album s six original tunes on which Kuroda s spiky trumpet melody with urban swagger evokes Lee Morgan, one of Kuroda s significant influences along with Clifford Brown and Miles Davis. The album also features two Roy Ayers gems Everybody Loves the Sunshine and Green & Gold.