In the summer of 1971 the American bluegrass music scene received a surprise. The Bluegrass 45, a young band from Japan created new sounds that made 'our' music truly International. It was obvious the band was well versed in traditional bluegrass, but when they played 'Take 5' by jazz great Dave Brubeck, the music was forever changed. Particularly impressive was mandolinist Akira Otsuka. We mandolin pickers in the Bean Blossom, IN audience were impressed with how fast & clean he could pick and play with taste. Now 40 years later, Akira still plays with that same drive & passion. His compositions are engaging and beautifully arranged. While giving nods to his heroes, John Duffey & Jethro Burs, it's clear that Akira's style is his own. Now the rest of the world can realize what the Washington D.C. area has known for so long..... what a wonderful musician Akira Otsuka is. -Sam Bush.