365

Akiko Tsuruga: Sweet and Funky

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Get down, watch out and dig what pours forth from the Hammond B3 organ as played by Akiko Tsuruga. The possessor of a million dollar smile and a stage presence that makes one glad to be in the audience, Tsuruga is a killer player.

Sweet and Funky is a pure mainstream release representing the organ trio tradition that is steeped in the blues and swings like crazy. Together with her band mates, guitarist Eric Johnson and drummer Vincent Ector (along with percussionist Wilson "Chembo" Corniel), Tsuruga plays four standards, two older pop tunes and four originals.

Having been fortunate enough to see her live (playing behind Lou Donaldson), the evidence is clear that Tsuruga is even hotter in person than what is laid down on the record. When fronting her own band, she positively melts the stage.

Given this observation, Sweet and Funky will raise the neck hairs on anyone who likes the traditional organ trio sound of Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff, or for that matter, Jimmy Smith and Dr. Lonnie Smith. This is feel good music with nothing fancy, but which should not be confused with smooth jazz.

The single most distinctive thing about any particular jazz performance, live or recorded, is that it captures and maintains the interest of the listener. Despite being traditional, the music connects directly and everyone's personalities come shining through.

Johnson fits right into the groovy pocket that Tsuruga's bass lines and Ector's drums set up, which is not surprising since he broke into jazz at age eighteen by playing with McGriff and McDuff. He knows this territory and really digs in.

Tsuruga was encouraged to move to New York City by Grady Tate when he encountered her in Japan, and has become a very in demand player since arriving in the States.

For anyone who wants to know what "funky" sounds like, look no further than Akiko Tsuruga on Sweet and Funky and get ready to say, "Damn!

Track Listing: Meanie Queen; DLG; Sweet And Lovely; Stormy Weather; Saving All My Love For You; Where Is The Love; Polka Dots And Moonbeams; Mushi-Mushi; Booga-Lou; Broadway.

Personnel: Akiko Tsuruga: Hammond B3 organ; Eric Johnson: guitar; Vincent Ector: drums; Wilson "Chembo" Corniel: percussion.

Title: Sweet and Funky | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: 18th & Vine


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Process And Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Brass Mask Live" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Mask Live
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Freedom is Space for the Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom is Space for the Spirit
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "A Social Call" CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.