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Album Review

It is easy to overlook how talented a pianist like Toshiko Akiyoshi is due to her writing talents and leadership of a notable big band. This long-out-of-print Inner City LP (which made available domestically a set originally cut for the Japanese Disco-Mate label) features Akiyoshi with two different rhythm sections: either bassist Bob Daugherty and drummer Jimmy Smith or bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Peter Donald. The seven selections are all jazz standards that were composed by jazz players. Akiyoshi, whose main influence was always Bud Powell, plays numbers written by Miles Davis, Oscar Pettiford, John Carisi, John Lewis & Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, Dave Brubeck and Bud Powell. This is an excellent straightahead (yet reasonably explorative) set that will unfortunately be difficult to find.


Born: 12 December 1929 in Dairen, China

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As an arranger, Toshiko Akiyoshi (influenced originally by Gil Evans and Thad Jones) has been particularly notable for incorporating elements of traditional Japanese music into her otherwise bop-ish charts. A strong (and underrated) pianist in the Bud Powell tradition, Akiyoshi was born in China but moved to Japan in 1946. She played locally (Sadao Watanabe was among her sidemen) and, after being noticed and encouraged by Oscar Peterson, studied at Berklee during 1956-1959. Married for a time to...
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Dedications-II, Toshiko Akiyoshi Trio
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