Toshiko Akiyoshi: Con Alma
Toshiko Akiyoshi (piano)
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 36 (Concord Jazz CCD-4635)
Toshiko Akiyoshi (piano).
Composed by Dizzy Gillespie.
Recorded: Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, CA, July 10, 1994
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Con alma, meaning "with soul," was written by Dizzy Gillespie, born in Cheraw, South Carolina. Yet, as shown by Toshiko Akiyoshi, the soul in question need not derive from collard greens and black-eyed peas. Born in China, Toshiko moved at 17 to Japan following World War II, so it's unclear whether Peking duck or Ginza sushi accounts for her deep-dish piano flavoring. A composer herself, she obviously delights in Dizzy's recipe, which she not only prepares to perfection but delivers with the skill of a Zen waitress carrying steaming takeout on a Honda Super Sprint motorcycle through rush-hour Tokyo streets. Pedestrians fend for yourselves. This lady hauls alma.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz