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Reviews: Marlena Shaw: Live in Tokyo

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Reviews: 2

Review by DeSelby May 9, 2005 (1 of 5 found this review helpful)
stereo sonics: top sound

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Review by Ernani71 May 12, 2011 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Eighty-Eight's (as in: this label belongs to Producer Yasohachi "88" Itoh) is part of Sony. Itoh's profile at Village Records says,

"In 1978, he joined CBS/SONY, where he oversaw foreign jazz artists including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Weather Report. He also produced domestic jazz/fusion artists including The Square, Marlene, and Kimiko Kasai.

"He produced many Japanese popular artists until '95, when he took charge of the Legacy & Jazz division and Asian marketing. It was during this time that he helped develop Keiko Lee and TOKU, and also worked to create a strategy for marketing Japanese popular artists in Asia.

"From 1999 he was additionally responsible for managing the recording division, and oversaw development of SACD (Super Audio CD) and the design and creation of Sony Music Entertainment's new recording studio in Nogizaka, Tokyo.

"Thus far in his career, he has directly produced more than 350 albums worldwide, and overseen the production of over 3,000 albums while working in the popular music division."

88's studio albums are recorded at Sony Music Studios Tokyo, but "Live" was recorded at B Flat, a jazz club in Akasaka ("Red Slope"), a district of Tokyo. The Recording and Mixing Engineers also have "Sony Music Studios" written behind their names, which helps explain the amazing sound.

It is questionable whether the stellar sonics on this jazz album should have been lavished on Shaw. On the positive side, she is decently accompanied. There are nice bass solos by Jeff Chambers, who is closely accompanied by Ron Otis on drums. Otis has a nice way of brushing the drum skin, as if he were painting with it.

One of these solos occurs on Track 4: "What a Difference a Day Makes," a song which won a Grammy for Dinah Washington in 1959. Listening to Shaw, one longs for Washington. Such is the case with all the covers on Shaw's albums: one always wants the other version.

Having said that, Shaw does a nice job with the last two songs, "My Foolish Heart" (and here keep an ear on Otis's fine brushing and Chambers' exquisite bass solo) and "Loving You Was Like a Party."

The small but rambunctious audience presents a palpable presence on the album. If you get it, you might find it worth it for the bass solo in "My Foolish Heart" alone, and for the A+ sonics. There's not much else to recommend it.

Of the 88's I've listened to, my favorite is

Ravi Coltrane: Mad 6

track 4 through to the end.

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