From MAKIN’ ROCK
Written by Steve Lukather & Jeffrey Porcaro
Ryo Okumoto is a versatile and talented Japanese keyboardist. In 1980 Okumoto recorded “Makin’ Rock,” an album that showcases an elegant jazz/fusion enhanced by some progressive nuances especially in the leader’s keyboard playing. Joining Okumoto on the project were Jay Graydon, David Foster and Toto members Steve Lukather and David Hungate and the late Jeff Porcaro.
Foster and Graydon each arranged a couple of numbers while Lukather and Porcaro co-wrote two of the highlights of the album. One of these songs, “Crystal Highway,” is a smooth instrumental that was masterfully arranged by Foster. Foster’s fender rhodes and Lukather’s guitar lead the show, backed up by Toto’s legendary original rhythm section. On top of this creamy performance, Okumoto plays a tasteful synthesizer solo.
The sumptuous level of musicianship continues throughout the album. Graydon and Okumoto co-arranged two powerful rockers, “Keep On Rockin’” and “Solid Gold,” both sporting top notch instrumental performances. Unfortunately, we could have lived without Okumoto’s poor lead vocals. “Original View Plus” was another instrumental goodie by Porcaro and Lukather that was wonderfully arranged by Foster and superbly performed by the super band with the spotlight on Lukather’s amazing guitar solo.
For years “Makin’ Rock” was one of the most hard to find items for Toto, Foster and Graydon fans, but thankfully it was recently printed on cd and now it can be easily found. We suggest this record to musicians and music lovers alike who appreciate the fantastic sounds of those magic LA session days.
Piano, Fender Rhodes, OBX & Arp Synthesizer: Ryo Okumoto
Piano & Fender Rhodes: David Foster
Electric Guitar: Steve Lukather
Drums: Jeff Porcaro
Bass: David Hungate
Arranged by David Foster
Produced by Taka Nanri