“The concentration camps that Japanese Americans had to go through has been a major part of my work for the last couple of years,” says Los Angeles based composer and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi. His last album Descension was heavily focused on the experience inside Japanese-American concentration camps, but his new album Hidemi, a solo multilayered woodwind journey, is more on the personal experience of his grandfather after getting out. “His name is Hidemi Patrick,” Shiroishi explains, “so I was named after him, but I never got to meet him, as he passed away before I was born.” As Patrick’s name is in memory to his grandfather, Hidemi is too, and across the album’s nine tracks, Shiroishi brings the listener through tension and release, showcasing something unfiltered, beautiful, and ultimately hopeful, a testament to perseverance and grace.
If you’ve ever wondered what trios, quartets, and quintets of Patrick Shiroishi’s sounded like, Hidemi was made for you. All of the album was written and performed by Shiroishi who sang and played alto, baritone, tenor, C melody, and soprano saxophones, stacking up layers of harmonies often each recorded in one take. The album’s opening blasts on “Beachside Lonelyhearts” blow the doors open, but are quickly replaced by loping, interplaying melodies that swell, recede, then slowly, methodically shuffle off. Other songs like “To Kill A Wind-Up Bird” start with woodwind flurries and free jazz that metamorphosize into something serene before Shiroishi’s baritone sax, breaks open the piece, and brings back the beginning’s composed but frenetic energy.