Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

347

Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band: Mosaic Select

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi overcame numerous challenges during her long career, immigrating to a new country, establishing herself as both a top bandleader and composer/arranger, in addition to the difficulties of maintaining a large jazz ensemble. Her husband, tenor saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin, was a star soloist in her big band and he helped her recruit top musicians when she formed the band in 1973. Akiyoshi recorded numerous albums until disbanding the group in 2003, though many of these excellent recordings have unjustly lapsed from print.

Fortunately, Mosaic licensed five of her big band's RCA albums from the '70s, including Kogun, Long Yellow Road, Tales of a Courtesan, Insights and March of the Tadpoles, for this limited edition three-CD boxed set. While there is no mistaking Akiyoshi's bop pedigree (and particularly the influence of Bud Powell) in her rousing "Elegy," her introspective "Memory" reveals her Japanese roots with its novel use of the flute. The humorous up-tempo blues "Henpecked Old Man" is another highlight, with sparkling contributions by Tabackin, trumpeter Bobby Shew and alto saxophonist Dick Spencer.

Disc two showcases Tabackin on both flute and piccolo in the pianist's haunting "Tales of a Courtesan (Oirantan)," which also features some of her best ensemble writing. Her amusing blues "I Ain't Gonna Ask No More" is an unusual feature for contrabass trombone (an instrument rarely utilized, let alone used for solos in a big band), played by Phil Teele. The driving, insistent "Village" is a bustling affair that instead suggests a busy metropolis.

The final disc begins with the extended work "Minimata," a three-movement piece that represents the diversity of Akiyoshi's writing, combining both elements of traditional Japanese music and modern jazz. "March of the Tadpoles" is another cooker that quickly reveals itself to be a superb bop reinvention of "All the Things You Are." The surprising "Notorious Tourist From the East" actually incorporates flamenco rhythms in a hard-charging performance.

Akiyoshi's music has been so personal that others have been hesitant to explore it, though she has contributed many memorable works worthy of attention. Hopefully, this set will prompt additional reissues of her distinctive, unique music.

Track Listing: CD1: Elegy; Memory; Kogun; American Ballad; Henpecked Old Man; Long Yellow Road; The First Night; Opus Number Zero; Quadrille, Anyone?; Children In The Temple Ground. CD2: Since Perry / Yet Another Tear; Road Time Shuffle; Tales Of A Courtesan; Strive For Jive; I Ain't Gonna Ask No More; Interlude; Village; Studio J; Transcience; Sumie. CD3: Minamata: Peaceful Village / Prosperity & Consequence / Epilogue; March Of The Tadpoles; Mobile; Deracinated Flower; Yellow Is Mellow; Notorious Tourist From East.

Personnel: John Madrid, Don Rader, Mike Price, Stu Blumberg, Steven Huffseter, Richard Cooper: trumpets; Bobby Shew: trumpet, flugelhorn; Charles Loper, Jim Sawyer, Britt Woodman, Bruce Paulson, Bill Reichenbach: trombones; Phil Teele: bass and contrabass trombones; Dick Spencer, Gary Foster: alto saxophones, flutes, clarinets; Lew Tabackin: tenor sax, flute; Tom Peterson: tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Bill Perkins: baritone sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet; Toshiko Akiyoshi: piano; Gene Cherico and Don Baldwin: bass; Peter Donald: drums; Scott Elsworth: voice; Tokuko Kaga: vocal (CD1#10); Lynn Nicholson: trumpet, replacing Stu Blumberg (CD1#9, CD2#2); Joe Roccisano: alto sax, replacing Gary Foster (CD1#8); Chuck Flores: drums, replacing Peter Donald (CD1#8, CD2#2); King Errison: congas (CD2#7); Hiromitsu Katada: kakko (CD2#10); Jerry Hey: trumpet, replacing Richard Cooper (CD3#1); Michiru Mariano: vocal (CD3#1); Hisao Kanze: uta; Tadao Kamei: ohtsuzumi; Hayao Uzawa: kotsuzumi.

Title: Mosaic Select | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Mosaic Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Tetrawind" CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Someone Else" CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "# 1" CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Killing Bugs" CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Fountain Of Youth" CD/LP/Track Review Fountain Of Youth
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 15, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!