Wonderful music... from a Wonderful woman... by Shiela Jordan (Jazz vocalist)
Easygoing and elegant, flavored with jazz, singer Akiko Aoki's pretty potpourri, Pure Imagination, is a nice mix of established classy material.. and two going beyond five minutes, considerable time is given over to instrumental breaks and that's a plus with such fine players on hand. Tim Ray is the pianist and .....Guest musicians include veteran sax man Ken Peplowski.
By Rob Lester/Talking Broadway
Akiko swings! This is such a fun album! A collection of great standard songs with excellent arrangements chained together seamlessly. The mother- daughter duet with Mari is priceless!
Aside from her soulful, sultry voice and unique phrasing, the most salient feature of Pure Imagination, song stylist Akiko’s Aoki’s long awaited return to recording, is her passion for and devotion to family.
It’s delightful hearing the singer – who released her debut album Alfie back in 1998 – charming her way through deft arrangements of classics like “Almost Like Being in Love,” a rare, funk-swing vocal version of Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar,” eloquent renditions of “Two For The Road” and “Pure Imagination,” yet the true emotional core of the 13 track collection are the three duets featuring Aoki and her equally talented daughter Mari.