There’s no getting around it, one of the loveliest and most pulse-pounding sounds in jazz are those created by artists who have command of the art, command of technique and play the Hammond B-3 organ. Atsuko Hashimoto is one of those. Born in Osaka, Japan Hashimoto started on the organ at the age of four and is trained in both jazz and classical music studies. She’s worked in both clubs and concert halls in the United States and Japan. Time After Time is her fourth CD.
Hashimoto, who on this disc works with guitarist Yutaka Hashimoto and the great drummer Jeff Hamilton, plays in the Joey DeFrancesco school of abundant technique matched by effortless wit and a take no prisoners mentality on up tempo burners. One of the many tunes where she shows off her incredible chops is on "Just One Of Those Things." Her ability to race up and down the keyboard with startling rhythmic accuracy at tempos seemingly beyond mortal man is astonishing. That in so doing she also makes musical sense places her in a category with few organists working today.
Her sense of wit and sly humor is shown well in her rendition of "Please Send Me Someone To Love." Opening her solo by taking a few very understated choruses that emphasize single note repetition, she eventually blows the walls out of the joint when she turns it loose. Hamilton, no slouch when it comes to tasteful and technically copious playing himself, matches her stride for stride and lick for lick. He’s there when she kicks and when she cakewalks. Their duet is a true work of beauty. On the soulful side her playing on "The End Of A Love Affair" is joyously somber and bittersweet. The entire disc is full of just this kind of fun and rambunctious music making.
Yutaka demonstrates a wonderfully soulful view of the blues on "Max," where he lays out some nice in-the-pocket lines seemingly influenced by Johnny "Guitar" Watson. The stars of the disc, however, are Atsuko and Hamilton. Their pairing is magic and experiencing their rapport is well worth the price of the disc.