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Album Review

This video features the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band live in Chicago around 1992. Although there are short interview clips of pianist/arranger Akiyoshi and occasionally Lew Tabackin between the songs, and there is a little bit of talking over the opening number, the music (five Akiyoshi compositions) is allowed to speak for itself. "Yellow Is Mellow" is a boppish piece with spots for Tabackin's high-powered tenor. "Strive for Jive" (based on the chord changes of "I Got Rhythm") has fiery solos by Tabackin, altoist Frank Wess, trombonist Hart Smith, and trumpeter Brian Lynch. "Quadrille, Anyone?" is a modern jazz waltz with contributions by Walt Weiskopf on soprano and the tenor of Ed Xiques before becoming a charming European quadrille at its conclusion. The picturesque "Autumn Sea" is complex yet moving, serving eventually as a showcase for Tabackin's virtuosic Asian-sounding flute. "Warning, Success May Be Hazardous to Your Health" has a samba beat and brief spots for Lynch, altoist Jim Snidero, and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. Strangely enough, the video closes with a second performance of "Strive for Jive," and this version is similar to the first. This fine all-around program is recommended to fans of modern big-band jazz.

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