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VIDEO REVIEW : Akiyoshi Still Striving--and Succeeding

July 09, 1993|LEONARD FEATHER

"Strive for Jive," a live concert tape by the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin, ranks among the most successful big-band videos now available.

Taped at Rick's Cafe in Chicago, the band is in fine form as Akiyoshi, in her multiple roles as pianist, composer and conductor, runs through a 48-minute program of her works. Here and there are touches of the Asian influence (notable in the poignant "Autumn Sea," in which she makes brilliant use of flutes), and of her early student years ("Quadrille, Anyone?" was inspired by lessons in a high school in Manchuria, where she was born).

The music is interspersed with comments by Akiyoshi on her music, her values and her sidemen, among whom, as always, the phenomenal Tabackin stands out, a master of both tenor saxophone and flute.

Though this ensemble works together only intermittently, it has remained strong in personnel. Brian Lynch on trumpet, Frank Wess playing lead and solo alto sax and Hart Smith on trombone stand out in a generally exceptional lineup.

Excellently filmed, edited and recorded, this is a 4-star set by any standard. It's from New York-based View Video and sells for $20.

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