Downbeat Magazine John Ephland
"Bop Tribal" Album Review
Hawaii-based Bop Tribal's eponymous release (Pass Out 9020; 57:01) * * * * (4 stars) moves from evoking the music of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, as on the bluesy "One Bad Song a Day," to Horace Silver with the whimsical waltz "Melancholic Toes." In this all-original program of eight songs, pianist/leader Satomi Yarimizo, trumpeter/flugelhorn player DeShannon Higa, tenorist Reggie Padilla, bassist Shawn Conley and drummer Abe Lagrimas, Jr., establish straightahead moods convincingly, as with the robust, swinging title track, which sets up a series of energetic and engaging solos
Honolulu Star Bulletin By John Berger
Every year or so, Hawaii's jazz community is gifted with an instrumental album of mainstream jazz that can not only be enjoyed here, but also proudly shared with friends elsewhere as a example of our resident musicians' talents.
The self-titled debut of Bop Tribal is one of those albums. The tight and talented quintet reminds us that great jazz can be about teamwork as well as individual virtuosity. There is a fine balance of both in play here.
If DeShannon Higa (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Satomi Yarimizo (piano) catch the ear on first listen, then next time around, focus on the rhythm section -- Shawn Conley (bass) and Abe Lagrimas Jr. (drums) -- or the interaction between Higa and Reggie Padilla (tenor sax). Like all good jazz, there is too much going on to catch it all the first few times it plays.
The title song, one of four written by Higa, is impressive for calling on the individual talents of each musician, and also suggesting both the "tribal" and "bop" aspects of the repertoire.
Padilla and Yarimizo also contribute as composers. Every tune is an original, and all that's missing are a few words in the liner notes about the people, places or events that inspired them.
Honolulu Star Bulletin By John Heckathorn
At 8:15 one night last weekend, the Dragon Upstairs was virtually empty. By 8:45 the second-floor Chinatown nightclub was packed. By 9 the band was gathered around leader Satomi Yarimizo's piano, learning a brand-new tune written by trumpeter DeShannon Higa.
The tune's called "Bop Tribal." So's the band. The crowd -- admittedly, it takes only 50 or so people to fill the Dragon Upstairs -- is here as a gesture of faith. This is Bop Tribal's first performance ever.
The faith was not misplaced. It was one of those rare nights: the right crowd in the right room for the right band.
In addition to Yarimizo and Higa, the quintet included tenor sax Reggie Padilla, bass player Jon Hawes and, from the Honolulu Jazz Quartet, drummer Adam Baron.
The quintet ripped through tunes by Horace Silver, John Coltrane, Clifford Brown. The crowd rocked along. "You go, girl," yelled voices from the back when Yarimizo came out smokin' on one of her piano solos.
Baron was thundering on drums, "channeling his inner Art Blakey," as he put it. On his way to the gig, Baron had stopped to help a pedestrian who'd tripped in a crosswalk, ending up with blood on his shirt. He'd had to go to Aloha Tower, the closest open place, to buy a new one.
"If I'd known all it took to get Adam to play like that was a new shirt," said Higa, "I'd have bought him one every gig."