(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Toshiko Akiyoshi and her Jazz Orchestra will perform a farewell concert on October 17 at Carnegie Hall promoted by New Audiences. Akiyoshi, the wife of tenor saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin, has reached this career decision as the band closes in on their 30th anniversary. "I started my career as a pianist, and I want to devote my remaining years to composing and playing in solo and small group formats. I am artistically challenged by this decision and want to become a better pianist and for me this is the way."
Akiyoshi returns to Carnegie Hall for the first time since1991 when the orchestra recorded a live album, which was later nominated for a Grammy Award. "I have played in all the major New York concert halls," states Akiyoshi, "but Carnegie Hall remains the gold standard."
"The band¹s first concert performance
after arriving from Los Angeles was at Carnegie Hall," recalls her associate Lew Tabackin, "and often times over our long career we have chosen the concert hall setting for the debut or recasting of major compositional works."
Hiroshima–Rising From the Abyss, the centerpiece composition taken from
their current album of the same name), will be performed for the first time outside Japan. This occasion will feature the renowned Korean traditional flutist Won Jang-Hyun. Dr. Billy Taylor will serve as the concert host.
As Akiyoshi explains in a liner note that accompanies Hiroshima–Rising From the Abyss, this particular musical project was first suggested to her and later commissioned by a Buddhist priest and jazz fan who hailed from the first city on which the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Akiyoshi has visited Japan thematically often throughout her career, but she didn't feel she could compose anything about this horrific moment in history, she writes, until she saw a photograph taken at the time of a young woman emerging from a bomb shelter "with beautiful eyes full of hope."
Premiered and recorded at a Hiroshima concert August 6,2001,the anniversary of this fateful and unforgettable day, Hiroshima–Rising from the Abyss is an extended piece in three parts–Futility-Tragedy, Survivor Tales and Hope. Won Jang-Hyun adds drama and a sense of universality, to this tragedy. –by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner