Rudi Mahall -bcl
Han Bennink or Heinrich Köbberling-dr
Aki Takase was born in Osaka and grew up in Tokyo. She already 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 philharmony 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 and many more followed. In the ninetees she had very successful 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, as well as occasional projects with the TOKI STRING ORCHESTA. 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 Rudi Mahall, Nils Wogram, Fred Frith and Paul Lovens under the name „St. Louis Blues“ (Enja Records). „St Louis Blues“ has been awarded the GERMAN CRITICS PRICE I/2002
A kinship of souls as a symphony: Aki Takase playing Fats Waller. She is concordant with his understanding of handicraft, his humour, his positively tuned irony. She of course she doesn´t copy his originals, although she demonstrates that too for some passages. She acts coming out of his spirit into which she doesn´t have to grow into first feuilletonistically or compulsively conceptional, because it is also her own-even if seventy years later.
She transports Fats Waller into a time in which everything is possible or at least everything that is flourishing in Aki´s immense garden. And that are the thematic puzzle games, the dissolution and new-founding of connections, the turbulences intellingently derived from the stylistic liberties of the thirties-even during the collectives.
And these are organized for a group which is simply put together in a genial way: Nils Wogram, the most versatile and technically most brilliant European trombone player since Albert Mangelsdorff, „qualified“ especially for Aki´s company by his membership in the group Underkarl, where satirical fun always was written with capital letters; Rudi Mahall, the sole true heir of the inventor of the bassclarinet in Jazz, Eric Dolphy, Aki´s partner for many years, and most grotesque announcer of the German Jazz-Scene; Thomas Heberer, „musicologist“ of the Harald Schmidt-Show, on the road between electronic experiments and daring memories of Louis Armstromg; Han Bennink as one of the most outstanding drummers; and finally Eugene Chadbourne (who has worked with John Zorn, Carla Bley, Snakefinger, Violent Femmes, Camper van Beethoven etc), the „Shockabilly“ from America, who with his selfmade instruments and his (rather English) far-out humour played with all avantgardists if they had a sence of whimsical anarchy.
With this troupe anything succeeds: rapture of virtuosi, outbreaks into „Classical“ Free Jazz, rouguish exaggeration of the „bar-pianistic“ side in Fats Waller´s soul, slaptick-excesses. Here too, Aki doesn´t play only Fats Waller or pieces associated to him: the „Intermezzi“ and affectionate persiflages of Viennese Schrammelsentiment(„Tintenfisch in Wien“) and German Schlager-Himmelblau („Kauf Dir einen bunten Luftballon“). The spirit of Fats Waller seems to linger on even there.
This project won the prestigous Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2004 and is now releasing the forthcoming album, the New Blues Project, which seems to have perfectionized the aforehead said.