Leader Hiro Honshuku's extensive resume is highlighted by his longstanding interest in Brazilian music and, above all, his lengthy association with the late composer, bandleader, and educator George Russell, author of The Lydian Chromatic Concept for Tonal Organization. Russell's ideas have profoundly influenced Honshuku's approach to composition and arranging and have led him to a musical idiom that is distinctively his own. In addition to the flute, Honshuku performs on the EWI, an electronic wind instrument developed by Akai that can traverse an astounding eight octaves; the vast array of sonorities it produces come from samples programmed by Honshuku on his laptop computer.
Violinist Rika Ikeda's ravishing tone reflects her intensive classical training, but she can play rough when she wants to. An accomplished improviser, her precise portamenti in part reflect traditional Japanese music, but also give her phrases an unmistakable blues inflection.
Mauricio Andrade's nylon guitar, delicate with almost classical voicings, centers the ensemble. His comping is rhythmically impeccable and his subdued solos are harmonically acute.
Rafael Russi brings to the electric bass much of the technique of his other instrument, the guitar. Indeed, at times, he and Andrade work together so tightly that they resemble a single 10-string instrument. His solid groove anchors the group, but he can surprise you by suddenly picking up the melodic line or adding a rich counterpoint.