135

Aki Takase/ Han Bennink: Two For Two

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Aki Takase/ Han Bennink: Two For Two The pairing of these two international jazz musicians—Japanese pianist Aki Takase and Dutch drummer Han Bennink—for an hour's worth of duets yields a worthy tribute to both Thelonious Monk and free jazz. The pair's Two For Two might have been better inscribed as Instant Monk.

Although Takase and Bennink only cover two Monk compositions, reed man Eric Dolphy's tribute, "Hat And Beard," and the pianist's own "Hommage To Thelonious Monk," the entire sixteen tracks percolate a Monk constitution. Chalk that up to the fiercely swinging Bennink's love of odd angles and his mission to articulate the possibilities of rhythm and time. Like his regular piano partner Misha Mengelberg, Bennink is the master of isolated quirkiness.

Playing here with a new comrade, perhaps the drummer has to listen closer, anticipate the changes and find a common language. Takase is quite familiar with the Monk book—not just the expanse of his own writing, but his roots in Harlem stride, Tin Pan Alley, and Broadway musicals. Two versions of the title track bookend the disc with a simple melody that is hijacked by Bennink, who turns them into a cartoon military march that defines his liaison with Takase.

This is a fun couple that, fresh with japes and shenanigans, can reveal an infectious light groove on "Baumkuchen" or messy freedom on "My Tokyo." Takase is a great counter to Bennink, refusing to play straight-(wo)man to his tomfoolery. With extensive practice playing duets with the likes of Rudi Mahall, Louis Sclavis, David Murray, and George Lewis, Takase's touch at the piano can deliver dense thick chords or the lightest dancing melodies. The pianist's "Rolled Up" plays with the Broadway themes of Leonard Bernstein, unwinding them with Monk's.

The pair adopts the swagger of jazz, but with the entertainment motive of vaudeville. When Takase and Bennink turn to the classic "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?," the pianist performs a slow motion stride interpretation, accented by Bennink's light and sensitive touch. The piece circles the globe from Asia to the Low Countries, through Harlem and gently back to New Orleans.


Track Listing: Two for Two; My Tokyo; Locomotive; Zankapfel; Knut (dedicated to Yoko Tawada); Baumkuchen; Monochrome; Raise Four; Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?; A Chotto Matte; Hat And Beard; Ohana Han; Rolled Up; Hell Und Dunkel; Hommage to Thelonious Monk (Motive of Pannonica and Ask Me Now); Two For Two.

Personnel: Aki Takase: piano; Han Bennink: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Psichedelica" CD/LP/Track Review Psichedelica
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "El Changüí Majadero" CD/LP/Track Review El Changüí Majadero
by James Nadal
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Laughing At Life" CD/LP/Track Review Laughing At Life
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "She Sleeps, She Sleeps" CD/LP/Track Review She Sleeps, She Sleeps
by John Eyles
Published: March 15, 2016
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!