I have written about Akiko Nakanowatari twice. https://sse-franchise.com/english-pronunciation-akiko-nakanowatari/She is a fabulous musician. Her final product this time is her best. A unique blend of tunes, New Orleans style. NOLA- “New Orleans Louisiana.”
“Hit the Road Jack” is a raucous, upbeat tune with a 70’s style saxophone solo thrown in. The tuba is reminiscent of New Orleans. Akiko flows through the words with precision.
“Hallelujah,” a religious song with a very smooth clarinet. Her voice is spot-on. You might cry when listening.
“The Rose” is probably my favorite, beginning with some beautiful woodwinds behind Akiko, then bursting into a bright and funky sound that makes you wanna get up and dance, New Orleans style.
“Heatwave” is toned down from what Linda Ronstadt did in the 1970’s. If definitely begins NOLA style, with a superb trombone solo in there. Akiko sounds great and gives her musicians plenty of time.
“Don’t Look Back in Anger,” a sad sounding song that is very much New Orleans. Another tasteful trombone solo and Akiko is as smooth as ever.
“Bizarre Love Triangle” includes a fitting clarinet. Akiko seems to “float” through the song. Her phrasing is excellent.
What strikes me most about this recording is that it is “raw.” Mostly. What I mean by that is that Akiko nor the band rely too much on sound technology to help them sound good. Just a tiny bit of reverb in her voice, almost unnoticeable. It’s real music, exactly what was played in the studio. There is nothing fake about this album. It is an outstanding display of Akiko Nakanowatari and some of the best musicians in Japan. Congratulations, Akiko.
To see her live performance schedule, go here- https://nakanowatari.jimdofree.com/live-schedule/
NOLA Voyage is available on Amazon and many others- https://www.amazon.co.jp/NOLA-Voyage-中野渡章子/dp/B093QW51FP/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1622903993&s=music&sr=1-1&fbclid=IwAR0CkJ33ThbRtymM664dC7NhmGrSn6G3BaqK3nBTxbXPDSrYcR5z7a4P2Vo
Thanks for reading.