Jazz Is My Native Language: A Portrait of Toshiko Akiyoshi (1983)



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Credited cast:
Michiru Akiyoshi Michiru Akiyoshi ... Herself (as Michiru Mariano)
Toshiko Akiyoshi Toshiko Akiyoshi ... Herself
Steve Buddha Steve Buddha ... Himself
Gary Foster Gary Foster ... Himself
Lew Tabackin Lew Tabackin ... Himself


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jazz | independent film | See All (2) »


Documentary | Music







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A fine, if saddening, account of Akiyoshi and Tabackin's relocation from LA to NYC
5 May 2005 | by foxbrick-1See all my reviews

This documentary, often seen on US public television stations in the mid-1980s, documents both the last days of the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band (largely made up of jazz musicians making their rent money in the likes of the TONIGHT SHOW orchestra and movie session work, and working part-time on Akiyoshi's challenging and groundbreaking innovations in orchestral jazz), and the married couple's move from LA to NYC (where the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra has done impressive work, but not quite to the level the first Big Band was able to achieve). Akiyoshi comes off well, if unsurprisingly harried at the prospect of moving; Tabackin, who refuses to drive a car (in LA) and otherwise must be catered to, comes off rather badly (it is apparently he who wants to move to New York much more than his wife) when not demonstrating his brilliance as a woodwinds player (on saxophone and flute). Akiyoshi's daughter, Michiru Mariano (later to professionally dub herself Michiru Akiyoshi, and the product of her mother's previous marriage to saxophonist Charles Mariano), also has some input. Some excellent music, and a lovely introduction to Akiyoshi's work and life.

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