Akira Tana

Secret Agent Men

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Akira Tana and his musicians were definitely out to have some fun making this release, which draws heavily from works written for spy-themed movies and television series. "Secret Agent Man" is given a funky treatment with a slight Latin tinge, showcasing guitarist Rodney Jones, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and tenor saxophonist Bob Kenmotsu. The rendition of the "Alfred Hitchcock Theme (March of the Marionettes)" at first seems like it will be low-key, but the brisk arrangement quickly discards Kenmotsu's flute for his blistering tenor in a smoking performance. They even have a bit of fun with the unlikely inclusion of a Sting composition (the normally monotonous "It's Probably Me"), but this version has more spirit and eliminates the mundane lyrics. The band relaxes a bit with a loungy but effective take of "From Russia with Love." The CD concludes with five songs written by the band's members to make up a fictitious soundtrack for a film. A nice added touch is the campy cover photo, with each of the players photographed in standard spy gear (hat, trench coat, and sunglasses), though Smith's huge Afro covered by a turban would likely make it hard for him to tail a subject!

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