Two for Two
Aki Takase & Han Bennink
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In early May 2011, pianist Aki Takase's penchant for collaborative duo improvisation manifested itself as Two for Two, a 16-track album shared with master percussionist Han Bennink. Most of the pieces are based upon their original ideas; additional compositional credits cite Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, and the team of Louis Alter and Eddie DeLange, who are represented here by their most famous hit tune, "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" Takase's discography is peppered with precedents for this creative tête-à-tête. As the 20th century drew to a close, she paired up with Gunther Klatt (1990), Alex von Schlippenbach (1993-1994), and David Murray (1995). Later developments involved Silke Eberhard, Louis Sclavis, Lauren Newton, and Rudi Mahall. A master drummer and multi-instrumentalist who also plays found objects, Bennink is a beloved hero to listeners all over the world who cherish the liberating effects of freely improvised music. He came up working with people like Dolphy, Don Cherry, and Marion Brown. Subsequent adventures involved over-the-top collaborations with Willem Breuker, Misha Mengelberg, and Peter Brötzmann. Takase's approach to musicality is refreshingly broad and inclusive of the entire century-long bundle of traditions called jazz. While clearly devoted to Thelonious Monk and capable of muscling the keyboard like Errol Parker, Cecil Taylor, or Marilyn Crispell, she is also well-versed in the early strata from Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy through Fats Waller and Duke Ellington. Takase's artistry combines the spirits of these musical ancestors with the modern influences of Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane. Taking all of this into account, a one-on-one Takase/Bennink collaboration appears to have been almost inevitable. The predictably unpredictable results are sure to gratify seasoned modern jazz lovers and dazzle impressionable listeners unfamiliar with this kind of creative exchange.
Born: January 26, 1948 in Osaka, Japan
Years Active: '00s, '10s