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Akio with Joe Henderson (Muse MR-5367) and Bireli Lagrene, Foreign Affairs (Blue Note BL -- 9067). Japanese guitarist Akio Sasajima isn't going to make anybody stop mourning the absence of Pat Martino's powerful, single-note guitar propulsions but there are times when it almost seems as if the 36-year-old player could turn into an adequate Martino-substitute. And with Joe Henderson and a young Chicago rhythm section to bolster his cause, Akio comes of as a fresh, lyrical and interesting composer, too. Lagrene still hasn't really found himself or fulfilled the promise of his astounding "Little Django" music as a 14-year-old prodigy but this is a vast improvement over his last record. On Herbie Hancock's "Little Jack" and his own "Rue De Pierre III", he's still a formidable and sensitive musician.

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