Liner Notes 

About the Tunes

1. Song Of The Owl (Hiroe Sekine)

The set opens with the distinct ostinato and rhythm played in 5/4, and it gives the tune an interesting identity and originality. Hiroe was inspired by the owls that sometime come around her house and after listening to their peaceful voices on quiet nights she wrote the tune. The interlude section with the voices in the background describes an image of the owls flying over the town in a free and leisurely manner.

2. After The Rainfall (Hiroe Sekine)

The title track starts with a melancholy theme on piano harmonized by guitar, then continuously doubled by her voice moving in and out in different sections. The entire song rides smoothly, highlighted by Peter Erskine’s drum work, Larry Koonse’s guitar playing, and Hiroe’s piano dance. The song is about a scene where the sky pushes gray clouds away and shows itself with light pastel colors. The trees, the leaves, the stones, and the flowers glisten with droplets after the rainfall, and the air feels so good.

3. In My Life (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

A ballad duet she sings with Arnold McCuller here. The understated melody Hiroe added to the introduction and to the ending is influenced by classical choral music and her tribute to the great song. The reharmonized chords give this duet version a far different impression from the original Beatles recording. Darek Oles plays his warm and lyrical bass solo here.

4. Windows (Chick Corea)

One of her favorite Chick Corea tunes, Hiroe arranged and played this song in a quartet setting featuring soprano sax by Bob Sheppard, especially at the refrain of its outro. His distinctive playing style gives the sound such a personality. It begins with a nice bass and piano ostinato that leads into an introduction with an open feel. The interlude section has the reoccurring melodies once heard in the intro but with more energy.

5. Aqui O (Toninho Horta)

Hiroe sings one of her favorite Toninho Horta tunes in Portuguese. Unlike Toninho’s original recording, on which he rhythmically plays guitar and sings as a solo performance, she expands it to a full-band version. She enjoys singing his angular melodies.

6. Inutil Paisagem (Antonio Carlos Jobim)

One of the beautiful bossa nova numbers composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, recorded by many artists. Hiroe uses a simple arrangement for her interpretation.

7. So, But, Anyway (Hiroe Sekine)

Hiroe’s original tune opens with a cool electric bass solo played by Jimmy Johnson. She switches her instrument from piano to the keyboard in this tune. The featured three soloists (Bob Sheppard, Larry Koonse, and Hiroe) solo with enthusiasm making the tune alive. The theme in the song actually came to her dream. She wrote down the melodies right after she woke up, and later developed it into a whole tune.

8. Spoon Key (Hiroe Sekine)

Written in the blues form and a fast straight-ahead jazz number, everyone in the band (Peter Erskine, Larry Koonse, Bob Sheppard, Darek Oles, and Hiroe Sekine) is featured with solos on this track. The title came from the word, “Spooky”, which Hiroe misheard as “Spoon Key” during a conversation one day.

9. Evidence (Thelonious Monk)

This is a sizzling arrangement of Thelonious Monk’s tune. Instead of playing it straight-ahead, Hiroe flavored it with a rock/fusion taste by using the electric bass, guitar, and the electric keyboard. Larry Koonse’s guitar rocks throughout the piece. At the end, the band goes into an exciting groove to conclude the set.



A note from the producer

I want to thank Hiroe for asking me to be a part of her second recording, “After the Rainfall” it was a privilege and a joy to help her realize her musical vision. My job as producer was to help capture Hiroe’s buoyant spirit and sublime musicianship. It wasn’t hard! She composed four stunning new songs and wrote five inventive arrangements of  American and Brazilian standards. She collaborated with some of Los Angeles’ most esteemed and empathetic musicians and recorded it all over the course of two days.

Hiroe’s first recording, ” a-mé”, featured her writing, arranging, and acoustic playing but  this recording reveals other aspects of her considerable talent. She incorporates her beautiful voice, singing in Portuguese, English, and in wordless vocalese on five songs. She also plays electric piano on two tunes, an outrageous arrangement of Monk’s Evidence, and her own spirited composition, So, But, Anyway. All the music is on this recording is thoughtfully and beautifully conceived, showing Hiroe to be an artist who is willing to take chances and stretch.

It’s been especially inspiring for me to follow Hiroe’s growth and development as a bandleader and recording artist. When we met a few years ago, she was my piano student at USC. She had just begun to consider what it would take to launch a career as a solo jazz artist. That is a quite daunting undertaking! I am so proud of her for her commitment to her art and for all the hard work and effort she has put forth to bring her to this point. “After the Rainfall” is a beautiful vista along a journey that’s just getting underway.

Russell Ferrante