Down Beat - p.604 stars out of 5
-- "SWEET AND FUNKY comes off like a string of inspired blowing sessions, with the Hammond B-3 organist demonstrating why we should believe the hype about her playing..."
Personnel: Akiko Tsuruga (Hammond b-3 organ); Eric Johnson , Eric Johnson (guitar); Vince Ector (drums); Wilson "Chembo" Corniel, Jr. (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Pete Fallico.
Recording information: Showplace Studios, NJ (08/10/2006).
Japanese-born Akiko Tsuruga has lived in New York since 2001. Sweet and Funky is her breakthrough CD, showing that she can hold her own with virtually every other jazz organist. Her style fits well into '60s/'70s soul-jazz and hard bop styles, grooving like Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith and the other great organists of the era without directly copying any of them. She swings her way through standards, blues and three originals, never losing her momentum, drive or flow of rhythmic ideas. Guitarist Eric Johnson (who takes plenty of fine solos), drummer Vince Ector and percussionist Wilson "Chembo" Corniel all have plenty of experience in this type of organ group and keep the music swinging and grooving. Based on the performances on Sweet and Funky, Akiko Tsuruga ranks as one of the top organists around today and, with luck, this is only the beginning. ~ Scott Yanow