Akiko Tsuruga, Beyond Nostalgia, SteepleChase ***1/2

Likeable, swinging Hammond B3-led mainstreamery here from New York based Japanese player Akiko Tsuruga, a certain riff-groove achemy the name of the game and bright clean playing from a strong band, particularly trumpeter Joe Magnarelli on 'I'll …

Published: 25 Jan 2024. Updated: 33 days.

Likeable, swinging Hammond B3-led mainstreamery here from New York based Japanese player Akiko Tsuruga, a certain riff-groove achemy the name of the game and bright clean playing from a strong band, particularly trumpeter Joe Magnarelli on 'I'll Close My Eyes' where there is also some very nifty brush work on the same track from drummer Byron Landham. It's our pick of the album - and makes us recall, while this is very different, a lovely version of the Billy Reid standard taken at a much slower lick, by Joey DeFrancesco and Jimmy Smith on their album Legacy which Landham was also on. Tsuruga, who hails from Osaka, was mentored by the late great ''turbanator'' Dr Lonnie Smith and certainly the feelgood spirit and swinging ease you find on a Lonnie Smith record is an inspiration here. The title track where tenorist Jerry Weldon comes to the fore has a few interesting twists and turns as the balladic flavour of the piece unfolds. And on 'Back Track' guitarist Ed Cherry injects a lot of Cornell Dupree-like energy into his comping and lively soloing. The version of 'Mack the Knife' buoyant and happy-go-lucky as it is you could imagine going down a storm in a top jazz supper club. Feelgood vintage stuff - if you're into players like Ed Bentley on the UK scene you'll be right at home here.

Tags: reviews

Diego Rivera, With Just A Word, Posi-Tone ***1/2

Sheer instrumentalism is never in doubt when Diego Rivera releases a record. The tenor saxophonist proved that on Mestizo last year just for one example and underlines it once again here with a fiery straightahead-leaning ensemble that includes …

Published: 25 Jan 2024. Updated: 33 days.

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Sheer instrumentalism is never in doubt when Diego Rivera releases a record. The tenor saxophonist proved that on Mestizo last year just for one example and underlines it once again here with a fiery straightahead-leaning ensemble that includes pianist Art Hirahara and drummer Rudy Royston from last year's release - it's trumpeter Pete Rodríguez instead of Alex Sipiagin and on bass Luques Curtis is here instead of Boris Koslov. Pick of the tracks are the traditional piece associated with John Coltrane that appeared on Africa/Brass, 'Song of the Underground Railroad,' where the Mexican-American unleashes just some of the sheer power and expressive resource at his disposal. Rivera's own tune the lovely ballad 'Dignified Response' is also one of the best things here. And in terms of repertoire the choice of Tony Williams' 'Pee Wee' that was on Miles Davis 1967 album Sorcerer and rarely heard covered these days is also a solid one.