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Say what you will, jazz vocalist Taeko (Fukao)'s One Love is bright and breezy. With a slight trace of accented English, she navigates through eleven mostly mid and up-tempo tunes.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, Taeko moved to New York in 1998 to begin her musical experiences by studying with jazz/gospel vocalist Juanita Hall who sang with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and with Jon Hendrick-protege Marion Cowings. For One Love, perhaps the most notable aspect is its use of superior musicians on separate sessions. Harry Whitaker and Misha Tsiganov share piano duties, with either Dwayne Burno or Gaku Takanashi on bass and Doug Richardson, who co-produced the album, as drummer and, on one track, pianist.
The album is bookended by two different versions of Bob Marley's "One Love." Her version of Fragos/Backer/Gasparre's "I Hear a Rhapsody" is most impressivea tune rarely performed with vocals these daysas is her heartfelt version of the Billie Holiday-associated "Trav'lin Light." For the sake of obscurity, Taeko also interprets Bobby Hutcherson and Doug Carn's "Little B's Poem," as well as Linda Creed's R&B tune, "People Make the World Go Round." There is also a Japanese language "Hosni-no Love Letter," and one tune from Doug Richardson, "Would You Believe." Taeko scats adequately, and somehow pronounces the opening lyrics from Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been in Love Before" as "neverbeen."
While still only an adequate singer, it will be worth watching how Taeko develops in the future.
Track Listing: One Love-Opening; It Could Happen To You; Dindi; Would You Believe; I've Never Been In Love Before; Hoshi-no Love Letter; I Hear A Rhapsody; Trav'lin' Light; People Make the World Go Round, Little B's Poem; One Love.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.