If one likes or needs to note a "timeline" or "continuum" - where there’s a defining composer/stylist and there’s folks carrying on the tradition (i.e., Albert Ayler -> Peter Brotzmann, Charles Gayle; Cannonball Adderley -> Jesse Davis), then have I got a continuum for you. Rhetorical question: who is carrying on In The Tradition of Duke Ellington? Rhetorical answer: Toshiko Akiyoshi. To be sure, she’s no Ducal clone - like the great man she absorbs and digests what she hears (bebop, big band, the history and folk music of Japan) until it comes out All Her Own. And like The Duke, she writes for the strengths of her players.
Please don’t get any "ideas" about this platters’ title - Hiroshima
is not some heavy-handed polemic (i.e., A-bombs are bad, governments shouldn’t use them, blah blather). Rather, In The Tradition (catchy term, that) of the very best music, TA’s compositions are exultant, projecting passionate joy in spite of the horrors this world has to offer. True, she reflects on the Hiroshima bombing with the mournful tribute "Survivor Tales," which features the noble, elegiac trumpet soloist of John Eckert - but there’s also wailing, brassy swing, with enough imaginative compositional flair and textures to draw forth ghost-world smiles from Gil Evans and The Duke. Another selling point is the sumptuously rich tenor sax of TA’s husband Lew Tabackin, whose playing encompasses the best tenor sounds from the Swing, Bop and Free epochs. So if you [as the young people say] "dig" large ensemble sounds a la Evans, Carla Bley, Either/Orchestra and The Duke’s most adventurous stuff (Far East Suite, Afro-Eurasian Eclipse
), then dive in here.