back to
Intakt Records
We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    You will get the CD-booklet (as PDF-file) with liner notes and photos as bonus, if you buy the whole album.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $9.80 USD  or more


Mood Indigo 05:47
Bel Ami 06:34
Tea for Two 03:36
Moonglow 04:41
Good Bait 03:44


Intakt CD 152

Since 1995, whenever Aki Takase has not been making solo recordings, she has always sought the company of Rudi Mahal: The depth of their knowledge of jazz history and their craft-oriented approach are self-evident – if actually rather secondary to their remarkable, dazzlingly entertaining connections between a tempered drive toward freedom and a quite specific wit that shows how to take life both as seriously and as lightly as possible. Their take on this striking collection of evergreens moves through airy amusement, the serious rapport of a sensitive give and take, intellectual juggling, and bizarre dance theater as they wander between aesthetic peaks. – The CD is a stroll through many styles, from stride piano in "You Took Advantage of Me" to free-jazz impressions in "You and the Night and the Music" or the surprisingly pensive paraphrase of "It's Only a Paper Moon." This is vital chamber music, infinitely rich and imaginative, featuring the complex and miraculous sound of the best bass clarinetist in the world.

There are CDs that immediately command your attention, and this is one of them, a wonderful trip through ancient tunes by the duo of Aki Takase on piano and Rudi Mahall on bass clarinet. The two have ventured into this territory before in quintet format on Takase’s St Louis Blues (Enja; 2001) with Fred Frith, Nils Wogram, and Paul Lovens from 2002, and on Plays Fats Waller (Enja; 2003), with Eugene Chadbourne assuming the guitar chair. As a duo, they’ve previously recorded jazz repertoire – Duet for Eric Dolphy (Enja; 1997)—as well as the improvisatory The Dessert (Leo; 2002). Some of the material falls into the category of old pop songs—like “Tea for Two” and “Moonglow”—perhaps too melodically impoverished to be called standards. Other staples include the Ellington songs “Mood Indigo” and “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” and there are bop tunes, too: Bud Powell’s “Cleopatra’s Dream” and Tadd Dameron’s “Good Bait.” The approach varies from tune to tune, ranging from a utopian sweetness that suggests period correctness to a rambunctiousness that touches on free jazz, as in “I’ll Remember April” or “You and the Night and the Music.” Takase is a master of the Monkian wobble, and it’s often brought to a summit here, as in the wonderful “Two Sleepy People.” Mahall makes the occasional obeisance in the direction of Dolphy, but as often as not he sounds like Pee Wee Russell, down an octave, playing next to a supremely impassive (if secretly bemused) Harry Carney. Mahall get a wonderful croaking sound throughout “Good Bait.” Whether it’s a certain bittersweetness that touches “Mood Indigo” or the good humor of “You Took Advantage of Me,” there’s an emotional openness here that seems to be channelled directly from the material.
Stuart Broomer, pointofdeparture, USA, April 2009


released January 1, 2009

Aki Takase: Piano
Rudi Mahall: Bass, Clarinet

1. Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington
2. I’ll Remember April by Gene de Paul
3. Bel Ami by Theo Mackeben
4. Tea for Two by Vincent Youmans
5. Moonglow by Will Hudson
6. You and the Night and the Music by Arthur Schwartz
7. How Long Has This Been Going On by George Gershwin
8. Cleopatra’s Dream by Bud Powell
9. I ’m Beginning to See the Light by Duke Ellington
10. Two Sleepy People by Hoagy Carmichael
11. Good Bait by Tadd Dameron
12. You Took Advantage of Me by Richard Rodger
13. It’s Only a Paper Moon by Harold Arlen
14. Lulu’s Back in Town by Harry Warren

Recorded July, 4 and 5, 2008 by Rainer Robben at AudioCue in Berlin. Mixed and mastered by Rainer Robben, Rudi Mahall and Aki Takase / Pianotuning: René George. Liner notes: Ulrich Olshausen. Photo: Fumi Udo. Cover art and graphic design: Jonas Schoder / Producedby Intakt Records, Patrik Landolt


all rights reserved



Aki Takase Berlin, Germany

contact / help

Contact Aki Takase

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Evergreen, you may also like: