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ALBUM REVIEWS

Aki Takase: Thema Prima

Read "Thema Prima" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

Where does one go after having studied the most important composers in jazz history and dedicated entire albums to them in a 40-year career? The answer lies somewhere between nowhere and everywhere, according to what Japanese pianist / composer Aki Takase presents with her new energetic project JAPANIC on Thema Prima. Whilst the aesthetic and energy at hand are steeped in the tradition of late greats, Takase welcomes chaos into her world and, with some help of modern electronic manipulations, ...

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Aki Takase Japanic: Thema Prima

Read "Thema Prima" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Japanese pianist-composer Aki Takase might have agreed with Miles Davis when he said in a 1986 interview with Nick Kent for The Face: “just about everything sounds better these days. Even a car crash sounds better." For the brilliant collison of jazz and hip-hop that is Thema Prima bristles with sonic textures seemingly inspired by the cut and thrust of urban centers. In some ways, these ten pieces could arguably be read as a vibrant extension of LOK 3 (Leo ...

RADIO

No Euros Required

Read "No Euros Required" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

There's a heavy European flavour to this episode as we explore the current scene in eleven different countries. Two albums on the Hungarian BMC label introduce BMC's latest round of releases: pianist Aki Takase (Germany) & her band, Japanic, and saxophonist Istvan Grensco & his Collective Special 5 (Hungary), which features the great American reed man, Ken Vandermark. It's a first time meeting for these two tenor titans of today. German drummer Peter Kahlenborn and his trio tear it up ...

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Aki Takase: Cherry ‎– Sakura

Read "Cherry ‎– Sakura" reviewed by John Sharpe

Twenty three years after their first studio date Blue Monk (Enja, 1993), Japanese pianist Aki Takase and American saxophonist David Murray reunite in Switzerland. There has been one live recording since, Valencia (Sound Hills, 1997), but the question remains what took them so long? The saxophone/piano axis has been a favored format for both. Murray's companions include Mal Waldron, John Hicks, Randy Weston and most frequently Dave Burrell, while Takase's partners encompass Rudi Mahall, Silke Eberhard, Louis Sclavis and Daniele ...

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Aki Takase La Planete: Flying Soul

Read "Flying Soul" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Japanese pianist, composer Aki Takase collaborates with her peers on what could be considered an all-star international lineup, originating from her partnership with French clarinetist Louis Sclavis. Interspersed with several pieces, spanning one-minute to two- minutes in length, the nouveau chamber, jazz, and improvised segments are brusque, changeable and smoothly cohesive. In addition, many of these works take on the flavor of intersecting vignettes. Takase's Midas touch can be ever-so-gentle or constructed on steamy, avant-like flurries. The band conjures notions ...

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Aki Takase / Han Bennink: Two for Two

Read "Two for Two" reviewed by Nic Jones

Sparks should surely fly when two of the most creative musicians on the planet come together, shouldn't they? Well in this case, no. Pianist Aki Takase and drummer Han Bennink bring heavy experience to bear when they play, but in this case their efforts are underscored by a combination of tentativeness and heavy-handed humor. The latter hasn't been so leaden in the past and has been a welcome part of their work but here, as exemplified by ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Aki Takase: A Week Went By

Read "Aki Takase: A Week Went By" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Aki TakaseA Week Went ByPsi Records2010 This is audacious music. In the emerging drama, pianist Aki Takase plays just a ripple away from bassist John Edwards, who is, in turn, a ripple away from percussionist Tony Levin. Each relates to the other through the glacial topography of something such as kryptonite. Thus the whole idea of the trio is turned inside out as new musical structures emerge from the prodding of ...

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Aki Takase: A Week Went By

Read "A Week Went By" reviewed by John Eyles

Across its nine varied tracks--five trio, three solo, one duo; all improvised--A week went by documents pianist Aki Takase's visit to Gateshead in June 2008 to play the On the Outside festival. The album opens with three trio performances, on which Takase is joined by double-bassist John Edwards and drummer Tony Levin. They are fitting company to complete this trio, as Takase easily straddles the territory between jazz and free improvisation--territory in which Edwards and Levin are both experienced and ...

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Aki Takase / Louis Sclavis: Yokohama

Read "Yokohama" reviewed by Nic Jones

Aki Takase is making a real burden for herself with this the latest in her hopefully ongoing series of Intakt releases. With every successive one it's not just a simple matter of the quality going up but rather a matter of different facets of her ability being revealed. As these releases have all been documents of duos, the effect is almost rhetorical, as if she's intent on making a case for that sparse setting and what can be achieved in ...

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Aki Takase / Rudi Mahall: Evergreen

Read "Evergreen" reviewed by Nic Jones

One of the things that become obvious whenever a musician is recorded frequently is how they address what has gone before. Pianist Aki Takase has her own distinctive voice as instrumentalist, composer and performer, but evidently--and happily--that triple threat isn't enough. She also has an uncommon knack for bringing something fresh to whatever music she cares to tackle.

The whole of this disc is a case in point, and its title is the antithesis of the product of passing thought. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Aki Takase / Alexander Von Schlippenbach: Iron Wedding

Read "Iron Wedding" reviewed by Nic Jones

If there was ever anything predictable about these two pianists coming together on record, the results are anything but. Alexander von Schlippenbach is the senior figure by some decades, but this is still such a meeting of minds that the difference of time pales into insignificance. This is their first meeting on record in fifteen years. Time passing has honed their dialectic, rendering it the product of evolving sensibilities.

That's clear enough on the ten minutes of “Suite In Five ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Aki Takase & Silke Eberhard: Ornette Coleman Anthology

Read "Aki Takase & Silke Eberhard: Ornette Coleman Anthology" reviewed by Nic Jones

Aki Takase & Silke Eberhard Ornette Coleman Anthology Intakt Records 2007

Is pianist Aki Takase making a point of releasing an outstanding duo CD every year? Spring In Bangkok (Intakt Records, 2006), in the company of vocalist Lauren Newton, was a model of in-the-moment creativity, and whilst the reasoning behind this latest release is radically different, the end result is equally stimulating.

Tackling a two-disc program of pieces by saxophonist Ornette Coleman ...


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