With their move to New York from Los Angeles, pianist-arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi and tenor great Lew Tabackin (who is equally talented on flute) put together a new big band. Known as the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin, the new ensemble in 1984 had such fine soloists (in addition to the two leaders) as trombonist Conrad Herwig, flutist-altoist Frank Wess, trumpeter Brian Lynch, Walt Weiskopf on tenor, and altoist Jim Snidero. Ironically their first recording for their private Ascent label was recorded in Los Angeles during a West Coast tour. As usual, all five of the selections on the LP (not yet reissued on CD) were arranged and composed by Akiyoshi. "Ten Gallon Shuffle" was commissioned for the University of Texas Stage Band, "Fading Beauty" is a ballad feature for Frank Wess' alto, "Jamming at Carnegie Hall" is boppish, "Happy Hoofer" contains a couple of catchy themes and the lengthy "Blue Break" is Akiyoshi's depiction of a long and complex dream. A fine album.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow