Duo w / Rudi Mahall
Aki Takase and Rudi Mahall address the roots of some terrific standards without compromising their own integrity. It takes some doing to be redoing the old standards today and making something fresh out of them. Aki and Rudi do that. It’s not that the songs are rearranged or given radical facelifts. They are played with some reverence, yet each rendition is filled with improvisations in and around the songs, improvisations that express the performers’ unique gift of the art – undiluted, fully living and present in a way that stays in the mind long after the listening is done. Three cheers for them. They can capture the spirit of the era(s) in which these were written yet express the modernity that is at the core of their approach. Very much recommended. Aki shows why she ranks among the most interesting pianists playing today and Rudi shows that we certainly need to pay him mind, plenty of mind. Rather superb stuff.
(Grego Applegate Edwards, Cadence, USA, Oct-Nov-Dec 2009