398

Akiko Tsuruga: Sweet and Funky

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Akiko Tsuruga: Sweet and Funky Jazz organ has been passing through a long period of experimentation, where well-behaved organists with superior chops have been releasing lean and muscular jazz, all well-conceived and executed. This creative direction in organ-based jazz is a positive development, expanding the application of the B3 in the vocabulary of the music. The music can be succinctly defined as "low fat (read "no grease ).

Like a bull stock market, organ jazz sometimes requires a correction, a recalibration based on its roots and traditions. Joining Tony Monaco on the contemporary organ funk scene is Akiko Tsuruga, and what she's serving ain't sushi: its collard greens with a ten-pound piece of salt pork.

Tsuruga turns the pots on, gas on high on her original opener, "Meanie Queenie, a blues (what else could it be?). The organist immediately establishes her style as flamboyant and fearless where she is not afraid to pull out all the stops (to use a perfect metaphor). In contrast, guitarist Eric Johnson is the picture of elegant containment, playing an introverted Jack to Tsuruga's extroverted Queen.

More blues-based playing follows with "DLG, another original that immediately recalls Richard "Groove Holmes' big-band sound, full of swing and sex. The standards "Sweet and Lovely and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams possess an incredibly nostalgic temperament not unlike that of Lawrence Welk in heaven, all grace and poise. "Stormy Weather is fully formed, demonstrating why the guitar-organ trio has been such a popular jazz format. Tsuruga and Johnson build a mansion with the guitarist presenting the melody head before a series of inspired solos.

This fine disc closes with a dyed-in-the-wool classic soul-jazz presentation of "Broadway. Again, Johnson is allowed the lead and first solos followed by Tsuruga, who turns the piece down to a simmer before blowing the doors off in the coda. Listener, consider yourself warned, Sweet and Funky is more of the latter.


Track Listing: Meanie Queenie; 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; Vince Ector: drums; Wilson Cornel: percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: 18th & Vine | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Jimmy Smith Jimmy Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Dr. Lonnie Smith Dr. Lonnie Smith
organ, Hammond B3
Jack McDuff Jack McDuff
organ, Hammond B3
James Spaulding James Spaulding
sax, alto
Jamie Fox Jamie Fox
guitar
KJ Denhert KJ Denhert
guitar, acoustic
Bill Heid Bill Heid
organ, Hammond B3
Bryan Beninghove Bryan Beninghove
saxophone
Adam Levy Adam Levy
guitar
Greg Skaff Greg Skaff
guitar
Spike Wilner Spike Wilner
piano

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Elevation" CD/LP/Track Review Elevation
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Away With You" CD/LP/Track Review Away With You
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Xabregas 10" CD/LP/Track Review Xabregas 10
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Dream Maps" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Maps
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Amiira" CD/LP/Track Review Amiira
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!