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News From Berlin

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Album Review

Berlin trombonist Konrad Bauer has become a regular of the Victo label. News From Berlin, a studio session with compatriot pianist Aki Takase, is his fourth album for the Victoriaville (Québec) imprint. The chemistry between the two players is exemplary. Each brought to the session two or three original compositions, mostly playful (and slightly warped) bebop tunes and free jazz heads. In addition, they recorded six short free improvisations titled "Movement I" through "Movement VI." Most of all, they had fun, undoubtedly: The feeling permeates through the music and brings a smile to the listener's face on numerous occasions. It's all in the details: the way the pianist stings the trombonist in "Removal," the fake tango motif in "Movement III," the switch to mono recording for Takase's solo in "Blues for C" — an antiquated touch for a piece that is anything but authentic blues. For the closer, "Sad About," the piano has been luxuriously prepared; objects rattle and bounce below Bauer's mournful melody. Unless one glances regularly at the track list, it can be difficult to tell originals and improvs apart, which adds to the listening pleasure. Some may find News From Berlin just a bit too safe, but it cannot be called predictable. It's a charming class act — sadly, the same cannot be said about the horrible cover artwork. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 26 January 1948 in Osaka, Japan

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

While remaining steeped in the musical traditions of her native Japan, pianist and composer Aki Takase emerged as one of the most versatile figures in contemporary jazz, her work running the gamut from conventional structures and harmonies to complete abstraction. Born in Osaka on January 26, 1948, and raised in Tokyo, she received her first piano lessons at the age of three, going on to study at Tohogakuen Music University. Influenced by the work of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus,...
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News From Berlin, Aki Takase
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