* contemporaryfusionreviews akikotsuruga hammondb3 jazz * Akiko Tsuruga – SO CUTE, SO BAD: I roamed out into the world in the early 1960’s, when jazz organists like Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott & Jack McDuff were just starting to get noticed by jazz fans ’round the world… there certainly weren’t as many women playing the Hammond B3 in those days as there are now, and Akiko is right up at the TOP of the heap… if you don’t want to take my word for it, listen to her totally alive & vibrant playing on the 7:36 “Peachie“… with her high-talent (& high-energy) friends Jeff Hamilton on drums and Graham Dechter doing guitar, the trio just NAILS what jazz is really supposed to be about – especially jazz that features the Hammond B3 organ… great song that will have you hitting the “replay” button over & over again.
Akiko grew up in Osaka, Japan and started studying music at the tender age of three (Yamaha Music School)… she’s led on ten albums, and has played with some true luminaries in jazz (Frank Wess, Jimmy Cobb & most recently Lou Donaldson) during her extensive career… as you listen to her totally unique and engaging performance on “The Lady Is A Tramp“, you’ll hear just how much she learned from playing with those jazz legends… there will be no doubt in your mind that this swingin’ lady has GOT it… soul, spirit, funkiness – whatever term you want to lay down, Akiko plays from her heart, and will wrap you right up in her spell!
The song that I first watched her perform on, the title track, “So Cute, So Bad”, is linked in from her YouTube video below, and I strongly suggest you watch it:
There are some ultra-cool & swingin’ moments on this performance (especially right at the 3:15 marker), as well as great solos by Jeff and Graham… and super views of the venue they are playing in… also, watch it ON YouTube, because there are several other videos of her playing there… a genuine treat for any jazz lover.
The song that (immediately) got my vote for personal favorite, though, is the jumpin’ “Face To Face“… Akiko’s organ just “owns” this tune, while Jeff’s dynamic drums and Graham’s stellar guitar help to propel you into the pleasant etherspace that great jazz is all about. This album is, without qualification, the best Hammond B3 organ work I’ve heard (yet) in 2017, and certainly rates the MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED I’m giving it, as well as a (perfect) “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 5.00… ergo, she also gets my “PICK” for “best organ-led jazz trio”. GET this one, it deserves to be in any true jazz collector’s library. Learn more about Akiko and her music on her Akikojazz site. Rotcod Zzaj
Note: This is a FEATURED review, and will move to the FEATURED panels on 2017/06/29
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