Aki Takase : Piano
Silke Eberhard : Alto Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Tackling a two-disc program of pieces by saxophonist Ornette Coleman might have been a challenge for both musicians present here, but the results suggest it was anything but. The downright tricky opening unison on "Cross Breeding" is handled with extraordinary aplomb and also serves notice that Silke Eberhard is a reed player to watch. Her bass clarinet playing is admirably self-contained in the sense that it shows little overt influence of either Eric Dolphy or David Murray, and she imbues the unwieldy horn with a certain grace even in its lower registers, as on "Free," where Takase makes the keys ring in a fashion some less open-minded pianists can only dream about.
In places Eberhard's alto saxophone playing shows traces of Lee Konitz's deeply considered approach, but on "Mr. And Mrs. People" her own considerable musical personality on that horn comes to the fore, especially when it's spurred on by Takase's exercises in rhythmic displacement.
The duo is acutely alert to the humour in Coleman's music, as per the clarinet-piano duo of the opening "Turnaround," where the ungainly elegance of the melody is allowed to ring through sheer simplicity of approach. This is one of those happily infrequent occasions over the course of the two discs where the two women assume the roles of soloist and accompanist, but when Takase steps out on her own she melds Coleman with pianist Thelonious Monk in a way which suggests this is music reinvestigated, as opposed to music subjected to the clinical reverence for the notes that the notion of repertory might imply.
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