Everyone loves a good mash-up every once in a while. While hip hop and dance music is known for mixing it up often, Adult Contemporary music is usually not the first genre to come to mind for cross breeding innovation. In 1985 a lot of people got a pleasant musical surprise in the form of Hiroshima’s 4th album Another Place.
Middle of the road quasi jazz pop was becoming big with emerging artist like Kenny G, but Hiroshima would take the Western fascination with Japanese and Asian culture and mix it up with jazz and a bit of American styled R&B. Formed in Los Angles in 1974, the band made up of Japanese-Americans, had established a track record in the world of jazz by opening up for Miles Davis. Davis’ style of fusion must have had some influence on the band, as they like Davis would also be influenced by contemporary trends in music.
By the time Another Place was released Hiroshima had perfected their blend of jazz and pop. The first single ‘One Wish’ had become a hit thanks in no small part to exposure from VH-1. From that point on every adult contemporary radio station in America seemed to be playing ‘One Wish’. The song reached #20 on the Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart, helping Another Place reach as high as #8 on the jazz chart.
The pleasant sounding tracks on Another Place combine traditional Japanese instruments with synthesizers and drum machines to produce a smooth contemporary sound – very much in the mode of AC music of the day. Another Place gets much of its charms from its ability to cross over into pop and even R&B. The song ‘What’s It To Ya’ may sound dated today, but it clearly has the stamp of mid-eighties R&B on it.
When Another Place veers into pop territory it can end up sounding like the English band Colorbox, but it’s the Smooth jazz songs like ‘Save Yourself For Me’ and ‘Another Place’ that give this recording its pleasant Sunday afternoon feel. In time Hiroshima would move away from the jazz+pop+R&B formula, but Another Place is where you can hear it at it’s most popular if not best.