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Music Review: Atsuko Hashimoto – Until the Sun Comes Up

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For whatever reason, I don’t often associate the B3 organ with swinging sounds. But when Atsuko Hashimoto gets a hold on it and starts hammering out some intoxicating solos and glissando runs, everything known about the B3 pops out the nearest window.

Together with guitarist Graham Dechter and drummer Jeff Hamilton, Hashimoto conducts business with some serious sway on her sixth record. Until the Sun Comes Up is a funky, fresh recording featuring 11 songs. Hamilton also serves as producer.

The trio for Until the Sun Comes Up was lovingly pieced together for the Friends of Frank Demeiro Festival in Seattle in March of 2009. From the sounds of things, these musicians know each other well and play with the sort of exactness that is usually reserved for long-time companions.

Much of this album is touched by the blues, with huge swinging and swaying arrangements taking earth with Hasimoto’s expressive playing. Her timing is on-point, too.

Hashimoto’s arrangement of “All or Nothing At All” bounces with rabbit-quick grooves. Hamilton fills in the spaces with smooth rolls, while Dechter’s neon-kissed guitar holds the front line beautifully. His strings lace around the organ foundation perfectly, creating a musical conversation that sounds sweet and soulful all at once.

The group’s rendition of “Moon River,” again arranged by Hashimoto, is fun and breezy. Hashimoto provides a series of pulses to ground the number before venturing off on the familiar refrain, Audrey calling out all the way. Hamilton keeps perfect time while Dechter swoops in for a bluesy solo.

Hank Mobley’s classic “Soul Station,” arranged by Dechter, carries a youthful swing and deep soul with it. A sweet groove rolls through the whole tune and Dechter’s guitar melds perfectly with Hashimoto’s Hammond B3 to make it hot.

For a satisfying chunk of organ music that won’t remind you (or me) of your grandma’s Sunday afternoon tinkering, Until the Sun Comes Up is worth a spin or two. Hashimoto’s command of the B3 is something special and the band she’s collected around her does more than merely support the main player. This is a complete group, one that we should be hearing a lot more from.

 

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