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Friday, Feb. 22, 2008



Tomonao Hara

Staff writer

Amusician of many stripes, 41-year-old trumpeter Tomonao Hara, a recent collaborator with New York-based trumpeter Brian Lynch, revisits an old haunt this weekend to show three different sides of his personality.

Tomonao Hara
Tomonao Hara

Hara, who performed on the film score for Takeshi Kitano's yakuza flick "Brother" (2000), is known for precise playing and a straight-ahead jazz style. But for the first of his three nights at Shinjuku's Pit Inn, he will play with veteran classical trumpeter Sachio Hotokezaka of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, alongside 10 other brass musicians.

Known as WHP, the jazz-classical unit allows Hara to show off his virtuosity and classical training, while at the same time leading what amounts to a swing brass band.

On the second night, Hara heads a trio with electric bassist Jiro Okada and drummer Hiroyuki Noritake. The trio's program will be heavy on electric funk, allowing Hara to indulge in lengthy solos over the experienced rhythm duo.

The final night finds Hara in a duet with his longtime collaborator, pianist and arranger Yuki Arimasa. His playing is usually hyperactive and kinetic, sprinting through passages, so it will be fun to see how Hara keeps up and how the dynamic plays out. Though both favor recording standards on their own albums, Arimasa's compositions (usually written for his trio) should get a fresh take when Hara's trumpet takes the lead.

For a musician who has not released an album in nearly half a decade, this may be Hara's way of finding out which path next to take in his career.

Tomonao Hara plays Shinjuku Pit Inn, Tokyo Feb. 22-24, 8 p.m. start. Tickets are ¥3,000 (includes one drink); tel. (03) 3354-2024.

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