Format: Compact Disc
Released Date: June 23, 2009
Style: Jazz General
Number of Discs: 3
Label Name: Mosaic Select
Personnel includes: Toshiko Akiyoshi (piano), Lew Tabackin (tenor saxophone).
Reissue produced by John Snyder.
All songs written by Toshiko Akiyoshi except "Yet Another Tear" (Lew Tabackin).
The Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band recorded frequently during the 1970s, including several LPs for RCA, four of which are heard in part on this 1991 Novus CD compilation. Akiyoshi, a talented pianist who was recommended by Oscar Peterson to producer Norman Granz after he heard her during a tour of Japan in the '50s, proves herself an inventive composer/arranger whose charts don't use commonplace voicings. "Studio J" is a punchy opener featuring the leader and trombonist Bill Reichenbach to good effect, while the rich "American Ballad" was specifically written for trombonist Britt Woodman, a former sideman with Duke Ellington. "Children in the Temple Ground" incorporates the traditional vocal chant, sung by Tokuko Kaga in the introduction, though it quickly transforms into an exotic Oriental waltz. The haunting "Kogun," a feature for Tabackin on flute, also reflects traditional influences, mixed with modern big band, honoring a World War II Japanese veteran who finally came out of hiding in the Philippines in the mid-'70s and discovered the conflict was long over. Though this excellent compilation is long out of print, most fans of the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band will want to acquire each of the four LPs (Insights, Kogun, Long Yellow Road, and Road Time) in their entirety, though that may be a bit more difficult and expensive. ~ Ken Dryden