Aki Takase
CD 9184-2

Aki Takase
"something sweet, something tender"

VÖ 27.11.2007

1. Crepuscule with Nellie by Thelonious Monk  7:04    2. Walking Batterie Woman by Carla Bley  4:47     
3. Something sweet, Something tender by Eric Dolphy  5:18    4. Intermission Music by Carla Bley  3:03    5. 57577 by Aki Takase  4:00    
6. More than truly by Aki Takase (GEMA)  1:17    7. . Into the silver down by Aki Takase  2:22    8. Possibly you like the thrill by Aki Takase  1:48
9. Against darkness by Aki Takase  2:43    10. Deep by deep by Aki Takase  1:03    11. Globe Unity by Alexander von Schlippenbach  6:56    
12. The Sphinx by Ornette Coleman  3:50    13. Peace by Ornette Coleman  5:34    14. Lokomotive by Thelonious Monk  3:04    
15. Hinter meinem Rücken by Aki Takase  3:31    16. So Long Mr. T by Aki Takase  4:24

recorded june 2007 by Reiner Robben

Aki Takase was born in Osaka and grew up in Tokyo. She alresady had piano- lessons when she was three years old. Piano was her main subject during her studies at the Tohogakuen University in Tokyo. 1979 she had a longer stay in the U.S.A. 1981 at the Jazz-festival in the philarmony of Berlin, the first celebrated performance with her trio featuring Takeo Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Ino in germany. Numerous concerts and recordings with DAVE LIEBMAN, SHEILA JORDAN, CECIL MCBEE, LESTER BOWIE, BOB MOSES, JOE HENDERSON, NIELS HENNING ORSTED PEDERSEN, JOHN ZORN and many more followed. In the ninetees she had very successfull duos with the singer MARIA JOAO, and with the saxophonist DAVID MURRAY. Work in trio with REGGIE WORKMANN and RASHIED ALI in duet with ALEX von SCHLIPPENBACH,. Actual is above all her co- operation with the bass- clarinettist RUDI MAHALL as well as with the lyricist YOKO TAWADA. From 1997 to 1999 she worked as guest-lecturer at the university for music "Hanns Eisler " in Berlin. In the year 2001 her "W.C.Handy-Project" with Fred Frith, Rudi Mahall, Nils Wogram and Paul Lovens under the name "St. Louis Blues" has been awarded the GERMAN CRITICS PRICE I/2002. The following project "Aki Takase plays Fats Waller" with Eugene Chadbourne, Nils Wogram, Rudi Mahall, Paul Lovens and Thomas Heberer was awarded with Germanys most important ciritics award: Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2004.

"Four days alone in the studio. Just to see where your fingers take you, how the head reacts, and how the heart beats to an asymmetrical rhythm.
Just to see and just to hear, everything that can be brought out of this black box, from these strings which touch on the history of European music but can also be compared to 88 drums. The piano - a finely tuned orchestra, a tribal instrument, and, moreover, an instrument with a hundred years of history in jazz. Simply begin, and then play. Easier said than done. Every note can invoke the past, but also be something entirely new, as if it was the first time it was sounded. Memories and Tabula Rasa. After "Perido" (1982),"Shima Shoka" (1990), and "Le Cahier du Bal" (2001) for Aki Takase it's all about the bringing together of biographical experiences into a moment, and with nothing less than a continuing examination of the nature of the piano, of piano playing and of piano sound. "Le Cahier du Bal" resembled an examination of dance forms and was dedicated to the dancer Anzu Furukawa."Something Sweet, Something Tender" detaches itself from any concept and strives towards freedom, but attaches itself finally to a three-part cycle. In the first and the last parts Aki Takase plays favourite pieces by Thelonious Monk, Carla Bley, Eric Dolphy, Alexander von Schlippenbach and Ornette Coleman. She has always come back to compositions by these: in duos with Alexander von Schlippenbach, which sometimes revolve around Monk, in the "Duets for Dolphy" with Rudi Mahall, in the recordings of the "Ornette Coleman Anthology" with Silke Eberhard…but now, alone, everything sounds entirely different. Everything seems larger: the freedom, the room to play, the responsibility. Aki Takase gives every piece it's own character. She plumbs the depths of intervals from the deepest to the highest tones, and the dynamic from pianissimo to an extra-strong forte. She allows economically struck single notes to resonate, lets the music breathe, develops a terrific pianistic speed from concise particles, only occasionally preparing the piano strings with screws or ping-pong balls, not to create effects but to nuance the sound. The frames of reference of the playing extend from Romanticism and Impressionism to a fascination with the twelve-tone rows of the first Globe Unity Orchestra, from the atonal blues and folk tunes of an Ornette Coleman, to Monk's early title "Locomotive" ( in the tradition of Basie's and Ellington's train recordings), and further to pieces by Carla Bley which are reminiscent of Erik Satie.
As a Japanese woman living in Europe, Aki Takase has developed a fresh view of American jazz. She doesn't think in terms of the opposition of old and new worlds, but creates her own. In the middle section, "Something for A", she exclusively follows her intuition. One of the pieces grew from "Waka", the old Japanese poetry form, with it's speech rhythms and beats like sound poetry.And then everything flows of its own accord. What "Something for O" means, remains open. It can mean "for Alex", "for Aki", "for Anton Tschechow" or Arnold Schoenberg, or simply the beginning, the attack of a tone in a quiet room, the seed pod of sound from which everything grows….Aki Takase's music is,on the one hand, abstract,on the other woven with dedications and affinities. Things get wild coming up to "Hinter meinem Rucken", a piece which recalls the pianist's collaboration with the poet Yoko Tawada. And the album fades away with great tenderness on a dedication to the late writer and jazz critic Toshihiko Schimizu, a kind of farewell song for a friend and patron of the avant garde. "Something for A". Alone in the studio, but not lonely,
because, - "More than Truly"- love is in play, naturally."

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