Mosaic Select: Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin (MS-033)

Mosaic Select


Mosaic Select: Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin (MS-033)

"Greatness is greatness, whether on the East Coast, the West Coast, in Tokyo, or anywhere else in the world. I think you will find it in this magnificently variegated, consistently exciting example of one of outstanding jazz orchestras of our time." -Leonard Feather, original liner notes
Limited Edition: 5000 copies

3 CDs -  $44.00


One Of The Most Exciting & Original Big Bands In Jazz

In 1965, pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi returned to New York after three years in Japan. Soon thereafter, she formed an alliance with saxophonist Lew Tabackin that resulted in a short-lived quartet and a marriage that is thriving some 40 years later. In 1972, they moved to Los Angeles where they would soon change the course of their musical careers.

With the formation of their 16-piece orchestra in 1973, Toshiko's image shifted from being a great bop-inspired pianist to being a composer-arranger of great invention. Her scores are varied and rich in tonal colors, often drawing on traditional Japanese music as well as jazz. The band, loaded with the cream of the LA scene and led by Lew, swings the hell out of her inventive, intricate arrangements.

The orchestra thrived until 1981 when Lew and Toshiko relocated in New York and formed a new jazz orchestra. Keeping a big band together isn't easy, but this group's popularity in Japan, exposure in major festivals and flow of albums on RCA Victor kept them intact and constantly creative.

Their five studio albums (1974-77) form the great initial opus by this distinctive orchestra; they are Kogun, Long Yellow Road, Tales Of A Courtesan, Insights and March Of The Tadpoles.

Read More About Toshiko Akiyoshi:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »


Click here to write a review

  Still waiting for the order
Saw them at UCLA back in the early 80's. I will wait quietly for the albums to come available. But the delay leaves me to wonder is ordering from these guys again is such a great idea.
This set (and this band) is amazing for several reasons: 1. The piano playing of Toshiko Akiyoshi. She is sensational. 2. The writing/arranging of Toshiko Akiyoshi. Some of the most complex and beautiful big band music I have ever heard. 3. The stellar woodwindmanship (if that's not a word it should be...) of Lew Tabackin. I could listen to him all day long. I suppose these three points are obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of this band, but to those of you who are unfamiliar with this group buy this set! You won't regret it!
  Stunning Stunning Stunning.
It is mind boggling that these records are still out of print and unavailable digitally!
  Will never be equaled!!!
Amazing collection of cuts. Just saw a reunion performance of the band in LA. This band gives me chills.
What a wonderful set, thanks Mosaic for presenting it! A wide range of orchestral colors, lots of dynamics and drama, plenty of swing, great solos by LT, TA, Britt Woodman and others.... this set has everything you could ask for from big band jazz. Splendid sound too. Highly recommended!
  The Perfect Big Band
This is as close as it gets to a perfect big band: compositions, arrangements, section precision, soloists and swing. The Japanese touches add spice to the mix. What a pity this band's albums are so hard to find except at prohibitive prices. It really deserved a full box set to include the Road Time and Newport live sessions. But this is a good start. One of the most enjoyable Mosaic Selects I've bought.
That's the real thing! I'm sure many of us are looking forward to hear this! On of the greatest big bands EVER! Along with Thad-Jones and Mel Lewis Organisation and Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band...and don't forget incredible recordings by Gerald Wilson or Don Ellis!!!! SWINGING FOREVER!!!!
  Amazing big band.
This is one of my favourite jazz music from the 70´s.Evrything in this collection is great,the arrangements,the compositions,the musicians,all for a great listening experience. Thanks Mosaic.
  at last!
Thank you, Mosaic, for letting the great 70's albums of the big band see the light of day on CD format. The previous reviewer did a great job of describing the music; I second everything he wrote! Now, for bonus points: if you have access to the 70's RCA's, how about a Mosaic Single of Phil Woods "Live at the Showboat"? I've been waiting for that one forever...
  perfect balance of modern big band and asian influence.
i must confess, save for a few tabakin solo dates and the latest akiyoshi release.i hadnt heard too much from this group [hard to find] being a big buddy rich and don ellis fan, i thought this group would fit nicely into that mold, and i was right,swinging, modern compositions,with plenty of expirmentation.all 5 of the albums here are top notch. and never sound dated, except for a few odd vocal overdubs that im not quite sure of. the 21 minute minamata is a breath taking example of orchestrated jazz. a lot of gil evans influence sprinkled throughout the set. and plenty of asian influence in just the right places. for me this set also proves that lew tabakin is one of the most underated saxists of all time and certainly one of the most technically gifted flautists in jazz. as always, these select sets are priced right and worth every penny.
  Amazing music / Great package!
The original albums included here spent more time on my turntable in the late 70s than any other music I owned. I was hooked from the first album and acquired the rest as quickly as they became available. Each album contains exceptional new compositions and arrangements that are somehow different from what everyone else was doing but always sound 'just right'. Not just 'right,' but 'amazing.' The playing is always high quality and the albums consistently reward repeated listenings. Akiyoshi's arrangements are always interesting and unique yet feel perfectly at home in the big band idiom - 'in' the tradition but never 'retro', fresh and unique but never jarring or strange. Even those few charts that add a traditional Japanese instrument or vocal seem perfectly natural and not at all out of place after a couple of listens. (I admit I would often skip over them at first but now they are some of my favorite tracks). These are the albums that put the Akiyoshi / Tabackin Big Band on the map. Thanks to Mosaic for finally making this early music from a great American big band available again in a beautiful package and at a reasonable price.

Mosaic Select: Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin (MS-033)
Mosaic Select: Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin (MS-033)
Limited Edition: 5000 copies
3 CDs - $44.00

Customer Reviews:

"What a wonderful set, thanks Mosaic for presenting it! A wide range of orchestral colors, lots of dynamics and drama, plenty of swing, great solos by LT, TA, Britt Woodman and others.... this set has everything you could ask for from big band jazz. Splendid sound too. Highly recommended!"
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