Jazz  Contemporary
Aki Takase & Vincent Courtois & Daniel Erdmann & Mayumi Nakamura Carmen Rhapsody BMCCD318 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberBMCCD318
labelBMC Music
Release date03/02/2023

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      Description hide

      Carmen, one of the most popular operas ever, focuses on a strong and proud woman ruled by her own law. On her new album, iconic jazz pianist Aki Takase takes up this convention-breaker figure, labeling her interpretation of Carmen as a rhapsody. As a seemingly loose sequence of lightly floating, dance-like musical thoughts, which are based on the themes of Carmen by Bizet, not bound to any form and thus verging on anarchy.

      Aki Takase, considered one of the most important shapers of contemporary jazz, often studies a particular composer or work and then uses it as a starting point for her own musical creations. She describes her rhapsodically conceived Carmen as a combination of passion and experimentation. The compositions and arrangements are determined by the parameters of jazz, contemporary music and collective free improvisation, with Bizet’s melodies fragmentarily embedded. But in addition to the opera and the suite, Takase also drew on the work of the Mexican-American composer Conlon Nancarrow, who overcame the physical limitations of manual playing by composing punch-card compositions for mechanical piano. The pianist and her two accomplices – Vincent Courtois and Daniel Erdmann – display their superior instrumental savvy and improvisational skills with frantic speed and great precision as they interact with Nakamura’s pliant mezzo-soprano, which is as alluring as it is mocking. The pleasure of improvising together is palpable, as is the tremendous speed of repetition and variation in the spirit of Nancarrow.

      Renowned for her unmistakably unique playing and complex and sophisticated approach, Aki Takase has already released two internationally successful albums on BMC Records: in 2019, his Japanic group released Thema Prima, which won the jazz world’s most prestigious awards in a row, and in 2021, she recorded an award-winning duo album with the saxophonist of Japanic, Daniel Erdmann.Alongside his old comrade Daniel Erdmann, Takase has chosen another BMC Records artist of note, French cellist Vincent Courtois, to realize the Carmen project. The instrumental star trio is joined on this recording by Takase’s compatriot, opera singer Mayumi Nakamura.

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • 1.Trio06:43
      • 2.Sevilla07:05
      • 3.Lalala03:25
      • 4.Intermezzo for Don Jose01:31
      • 5.Carmen Chanson03:38
      • 6.Prelude02:18
      • 7.Shadow04:19
      • 8.Three Variations03:53
      • 9.Torrero04:41
      • 10.Night of Spade04:29
      • 11.Puzzle01:10
      • 12.Habanera04:28
      • Total:47:40