Toshiko Akiyoshi

Sumi-E

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For a period of time between the mid-'70s and early '80s, Toshiko Akiyoshi was taking her big band (co-founded with husband Lew Tabackin) into the studio with some regularity, consistently producing outstanding recordings. This long-unavailable LP, released by the Japanese label Insights, consists of four extended original works, beginning with the exotic, multi-faceted "Sumi-e." "Hangin' Loose" is a far more lighthearted piece, which she introduces with a jaunty piano solo backed by the rhythm section. The cryptically titled "A-10-205932" is a great showcase for Tabackin's underrated prowess as a flutist. The orchestra also includes trumpeter Bobby Shew, trombonist Bill Reichenbach, and alto saxophonist Gary Foster, though all of the musicians excel in their playing of Akiyoshi's demanding charts. This somewhat hard-to-find album is well worth acquiring.

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