Akiko Tsuruga’s from Osaka, Japan where she was discovered by the veteran drummer Grady Tate. Tate encouraged her to go West and Dr. Lonnie Smith had given her some advice and teaching while in Tokyo. Unlike some would-be jazz organists Tsuruga doesn’t just drop notes and expect drummer and guitarist to lift and swing them. She does the swinging herself, very considerably though—not on the heavyweight scale of Milt Buckner, or even Joey de Francesco. Vince Ector’s exceptionally sensitive drumming and the work of Eric Johnson sustains consistency and texture without needing to be leaned on. She swings herself and they help her swing even more. On six titles Wilson “Chembo” Corniel complements the enhancement which the two other guys afford Tsuruga’s unpretentious delightful music. Akiko likes to develop roots, she’s no imitator.
// Notes from the Road
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