Kevin Whitehead on jazz pianist Aki Takase:
As a Japanese expatriate in Berlin, Aki Takase has an outsider’s perspective on jazz and insider wisdom that comes from careful study. She’s made albums devoted to music by stride pianist and blues composer, as well as an earlier set of Ellington ballads. She can swim in that stream, but will also hop out of the water. Takase has a trust in silence still rare among improvisers bursting with a need to express themselves. Her sometimes stark treatment of “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” is Ellington tinted by Monk and: a 1941 tune informed by other mid-century perspectives.
Image of Aki Takase via asianetwork.de