Jazz organists often have a tendency to gravitate toward the funkier side of things, and have done so since the glory days of Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff. Organist Atsuko Hashimoto, on the other hand, seems to have focused more tightly on developing her sense of swing, and it pays off mightily on this, her first album for the venerable Capri label. The program is a mix of originals and truly well-worn standards, and what may be most impressive about the album is her ability to bring freshness and energy to some of these chestnuts through sheer energy and the elephantine power of her swing; listen, for example, to her renditions of both "Cherry" and "Yours Is My Heart Alone." Not only are her solos amazing for their joyful inventiveness, but the rhythmic power she generates along with her sidemen Graham Dechter (guitar) and Jeff Hamilton (drums) is like a force of nature. Elsewhere she takes brisk, no-nonsense midtempo renditions of "So in Love" and "Moon River" and turns them into something brand new. The group's arrangement of "It's a Wonderful World" is the album's sole disappointment, a predictably sappy rendition that is just barely redeemed by yet another brilliantly constructed organ solo. The album ends on a very high note, with the joyfully gospel-flavored "Hallelujah I Love Her So." This is a brilliant and thrilling album.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson