365

Akiko Tsuruga: Sweet and Funky

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Akiko Tsuruga: Sweet and Funky 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 Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "Ida Y Vuelta" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Y Vuelta
by James Nadal
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Petite Afrique" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "WAHOO!" CD/LP/Track Review WAHOO!
by Greg Simmons
Published: February 13, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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