Toshiko Akiyoshi

I have a a fair bit of Toshiko Akiyoshi in my jazz collection: one mp3 cd Top of the Gate/Ginko Nuts/Toshiko/NYSketch Book (which includes work by Herbie Mann; Don Sebesky); Lp to cd transfers: Tales of a Courtesan, Road Time Shuffle, Insights (which includes: Oscar Peterson: Swinging Brass): and stand alone’s: Remembering Bud, Desert Lady Fantasy, Hiroshima.

expo03 Lego FanExpo 2013

You could say I like the lady’s style. Some recordings are spectacular big band work with Lew Tabackin – I can’t remember where I first heard (way back in mid-70’s) Village on Tales but its rollicking piano work and dynamic horn section sold me as it told me she could take big band beyond Ellington or Herb Ellis.

expo01 let’s go to FanExpo 2013

Her work often incorporates tradition Japanese elements – voice, percussion. Road Time Shuffle is a dynamic 2 lp live recording – Henpecked Old Man give Tabakin an amazing sax workout. Bud is her tribute to Bud Powell. She is a powerful pianist & a brilliant arranger.

expo02 Lego FanExpo 2013

Don Sebesky is best known for his jazz production & arrangements & released a few records of his own. In this collection is his Big Box – I used to borrow this double lp set from a friend of mine on the east coast & finally made a cassette dupe of it, eventually replaced that with crisp mp3 download – great, fun stuff – Fire Bird Suite combined with Birds of Fire is amazing. Easy to take in but not ‘easy listening’.


(another piece from 1999)


The phone had rung six separate times already in the past half hour. By the time I had gotten the various bits of scotch tape, ribbons or wrapping paper out of my hands, off my fingers, out from underfoot, the ringing would have stopped.

It didn’t matter how close I brought the phone. It would always start just as I had finally gotten curled ribbons at the right point along the package – oblong box – bottle – whatever – that I was wrapping.

What the world needed was an extra hand to hold things in place while the other two cut ribbon, pulled off another piece of tape, or scratched my nose.

I had at least another fifty gifts to wrap. The twenty I had done already were lined up in the hall way waiting for pick-up. My handiwork looked too good to unwrap. Who would want to tear aside that rich brocaded paper, or rip apart those lace bows just to get at the gift? Who?

Damn there goes the phone again.

I was able to get to it after two rings this time.

“Wrap-a-rama. Can I help you?”

“You muse be Busy? I’ve been calling all morning and you …”

“Yes I am busy very and will be busy for the rest of the week. So let’s cut to the chase just what is you want wrapped?

“Well – I was wondering …”

“Wondering what? Spit it out. No, wait. Let me guess. You have something you need wrapped. Something special for someone special. Isn’t that it?”


“Okay. Now I need to know how large.”

“Umm … Average size. Compact you might say.”

“Compact, as in car?”

“Yes. Small though. Sporty.”

“Look, I am not doing any sports cars this year. They take too long for the cost.”

“I’ll double your usual fee. You don’t have to wrap the … ”

“Sorry. No automobiles. No helicopters or speed boats either.”

“Jez that doesn’t leave much does it. Why bother running a wrapping service at all if you won’t take on the real challenges.”

“You have point. How about you paying me as much to wrap it as you paid to buy it.”

“What? Are you nuts?”

“No. If you want me to do something I don’t want to do then I’m going to make really worth my while.”

“It just gift wrapping for Christ sake, not rocket science.”

“Then get a rocket scientist to wrap your car. Good bye.”

I grabbed the stuffed dog that was to wrapped unboxed but in such a way as not to revel what it was. The kind of challenge I was up to.

The phone rang. Call display said it was the guy who I hung up on. I ignored it. For once I was thankful I didn’t have that third arm.

expo notplushie smile please

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