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Taeko: Voice

- CD Reviews
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Taeko: Voice
2010 Flat Line Records, Inc.

Produced by Taeko and Doug Richardson

Taeko on Vocals
Greg Lewis on Organ
Kevin McNeal on Guitar
Doug Richardson on Drums, Melodica
Lou Rainone on Piano
Gaku Takanashi on Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass, Wah-Wah Guitar


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 30, 2014

This CD is a fascinating series of songs, mostly in English, a few in Japanese, strongly performed by vocalist, Taeko Fukao. Taeko has been heard in New York Clubs over the years, with impressive bands, magnetically drawing her audience into her unique interpretations. On this album, she brings musicians on organ, piano, guitars, drums, melodica, and basses. Each track is original and refreshing. Standards by Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, Duke Ellington and Keith Russell, are joined by Taeko’s brief, original song, “Spring Nocturne’, as well as a Herbie Hancock composition and Japanese songs sung in Taeko’s native language.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Cantaloupe Island - Composed by H. Hancock/J. Fleming. This first track lets the listener know that Taeko can belt it out, and that she does, with sassy, bluesy confidence. Her tones are filled with energy and personality. Kevin McNeal on guitar, Greg Lewis on organ, and Gaku Takanashi on electric bass bring out the effusive soul of Juanita Fleming’s (Taeko’s vocal coach) lyrics.

#5 – On a Clear Day - Composed by B. Lane/A.J. Lerner. Doug Richardson on drums and Lou Rainone on piano are featured on this track, with a resounding drum-vocal introduction. Taeko sings scat along with the renowned lyrics in ebullient celebration of the moment. This vocalist lets you know, on no uncertain terms, that there’s talent here, and she showcases that talent on each and every track.

#8 & #12 – Biwako - Composed by T. Oguchi/C. Yoshida/T. Fukao. On these two tracks, Taeko first sings the Japanese folk song in Japanese, and then in English, performing her own translation. The title refers to Lake Biwa, in Japan, in Taeko’s hometown. Taeko is joined on this cultural tribute by Mr. Richardson on melodica, which sounds like an electric harmonica, and by Mr. Rainone on piano. On the second version, in English, the accompanists are Mr. Lewis on organ, plus guitarist.

#9 – Sugar - Composed by S. Turrentine/T. Daryll. With a fiery drum riff and swinging organ chords, Taeko lets it all out in this gorgeous track. She sings Ted Daryll’s lyrics to this Stanley Turrentine favorite with sound that could fill a stadium. Taeko’s CD is worth the listening on repeated occasions, as nuanced instrumentals are constantly revealed.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at