Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Toshiko Akiyoshi at Maybeck (Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Volume 36)
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
A very competent pianist, but doesn't highly inspire
John P. Perhonis | University Park, Maryland United States | 03/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Toshiko Akiyoshi is remember by this writer at least as the big band arranger with the long standing Village Vanguard (Monday Nite) Lew Tabackin-Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band. I believe that this experience helped establish her as a first rate jazz composer. I suspect judging overall from this Maybeck album that composing is where her real skills are. She is a very competent jazz pianist and she can generate some momentum, but there is a nervousness and uneasiness I sense in her playing here that makes me wonder whether she is really comfortable in a solo piano setting of this kind. All you have to do is compare this solo performance with others in the Maybeck series to see what I mean. Try listening to Hank Jones or JoAnne Brackeen (who did the first Maybeck recording)or Kenny Baron to get a sense of the profound excitement generated by a completely relaxed (not diffident) and confident approach. I recommend the Maybeck jazz piano series more than I recommend this particular album or performer. Get them all because they involve very good artists playing in a very good performance hall on an excellent Yamaha grand piano. The Maybeck series are live performances with some clapping, etc, but the setting is intimate. For solo jazz piano the Maybeck series can't be beat and there are well over 30 recordings. This is a good one, but not a great one. It doesn't inspire me to go out and get more Toshiko Akiyoshi piano performances per se, but her career as a big band composer is definitely something to check out."