Toshiko Akiyoshi Quintet – Toshiko At Top Of The Gate

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Toshiko at Top of the Gate is a live jazz album by pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi. It was recorded at the Top of the Gate in New York City in July 1968 and was released by Nippon Columbia and Denon Records.

“The Toshiko Akiyoshi Quintet was recorded live during a 1969 concert at the Top of the Gate; her group includes her husband Lew Tabackin on tenor sax and flute, the late trumpeter Kenny Dorham (in one of his final recordings prior to his premature death in 1972), plus bassist Ron Carter and drummer Mickey Roker. The distortion on this live date is rather noticeable for a commercial recording made in the late 1960s (Dorham is particularly lost in the mix at times) but this is likely due to the limitations of the venue. “Opus No. Zero” almost sounds as if it would fit in the playbook of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, with its stop-and-go hard bop rhythm, while “The First Night” is a blend of hard bop and a beautiful line featuring Tabackin’s flute in unison with his wife’s piano. “Let’s Roll in Sake” is a gospel-drenched number in the spirit of Cannonball Adderley. “Akiyoshi” also delves into bossa nova with arrangements of “How Insensitive” and “Morning of the Carnival,” the latter featuring a potent solo by Dorham. Only reissued on CD in Japan during 2000, this release was already out of print less than a year later and will be difficult to find if one waits very long to search for it.”- Ken Dryden/AllMusic.

Track listing:
“Opus No. Zero” (Akiyoshi) – 8:13
“First Night” (Akiyoshi) – 3:21
“Phrygian Waterfall” (Akiyoshi) – 3:53
“Let’s Roll in Sake” (Akiyoshi) – 3:17
“How Insensitive” (Jobim) – 3:38
“Morning of the Carnival” (Bonfá) – 3:17
“The Night Song” (Strouse, Adams) – 3:33
“Willow Weep for Me” (Ronell) – 2:29
“My Elegy” (Akiyoshi) – 7:30

Toshiko Akiyoshi – piano
Kenny Dorham – trumpet
Lew Tabackin – tenor saxophone, flute
Ron Carter – bass
Mickey Roker – drums


Released: 1968
Recorded: 30 July 1968
Venue Top of the Gate club, New York City
Length 39:46
Label: Nippon Columbia