Sunday, January 22, 2017

Aki Takase / David Murray - Cherry - Sakura (Intakt Records, 2017)

Coming hard on the heels of the excellent collaboration album Perfection, saxophonist and bass clarinet player David Murray teams up with pianist Aki Takase for a stellar album of duet performances. They open the album with the dark and moody "Cherry - Sakura" which is dark and lonely, yet romantic. There are solo spots for each musician and some lush collective playing. "A Very Long Letter" is fast and bouncy with a buoyant pulse. Murray plays some very exciting and scouring tenor saxophone which is balanced by rippling and dynamic piano. The music is reflexive, powerfully strong and rhythmic, with solo spots for squalls of muscular saxophone, and clashing notes and chords. The Thelonious Monk composition "Let's Cool One" is a real treat with swinging bass clarinet and piano developing into a great keyboard solo which has a touch of the stride style, and then a return to a dancing and swaying duet. The lush tenor saxophone and piano ballad "To A.P. Kern" has a soft, sultry and very patient form, with well executed solo sections for each musician. "Stressology" is a very nice medium to up tempo song that evokes powerful peals of sound from Murray's saxophone, which sounds truly inspired, and he is met with a classy statement from his partner. Murray develops a scratchy, raw and immediate tone on "Nobuko" which is met with a full and serious tone from the keyboard, developing into a patient and spacious improvised section. They return to a bright and swinging feel on "Blues for David," making for a rich sounding conversation amongst friends, and a patient and thoughtful piano solo. Finally, "A Long March to Freedom" ends the album in sparkling form, beginning at a medium to low tempo, approaching a ballad format, with Murray's huge tenor saxophone tone engaging Takase's deep and emotional piano chords. The music evolves into a soulful and gentle duet with spacious piano playing and lustrous saxophone. This music has the makings of an inspired partnership, and the album will be released next month marking a bravura performance that should not be missed. Cherry - Sakura - Intakt Records

Send comments to Tim.