Aki Takase was born in Osaka and studied music in Tokyo. Since 1981 she has been giving concerts in the USA, Europe and Japan, recording with Lester Bowie, Cecil McBee, Bob Moses, Joe Henderson, Joe Chambers, David Liebmann and John Zorn and others. Since 1988 with Alexander von Schlippenbach and the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Numerous duos with Maria Joao, von Schlippenbach, David Murray, Rudi Mahall, Louis Sclavis and others. Silke Eberhard, “Klang und Texte” with the writer Yoko Tawada, ” The City in the Piano” with the dancer Yui Kawaguchi, “Isn`t it Romantic?” with Daniel Erdmann, “Carmen Rhapsody” with Mayumi Nakamura. Since 2000 “LOK.03” with Alexander von Schlippenbach and DJIIIVibe. “Fats Waller” project with Eugene Chadbourne, Nils Wogram, Rudi Mahall and Paul Lovens. From 2018 in the “Quintet Japanic” with Daniel Erdmann, DJlllVibe, Johannes Fink, Dag Magnus Narvesen, in the trio “AUGE” (with Christian Weber, Michael Griener) and also in duo. From 1994 to 1996 she was a docent in the music department of the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, and from 1997 to 2000 a guest professor at the “Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik” in the subjects of piano and ensemble playing.
Takase has been listed eight times (1989-2017) in the quarterly lists of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. For the CD “Aki Takase plays Fats Waller” she was awarded the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics in 2004. 1999 Berliner Zeitung Critics’ Prize and 2002 SWR Jazz Prize, 2018 Jazz Prize Berlin, 2021 Albert-Mangelsdorff Prize.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I think inspiration for music comes from everything in the world.
Especially things I find beautiful things and people I am interested in, from which I find what I myself am looking for.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I have had a love for music since childhood. Not because I wanted to make music, but because of my desire to create the invisible world through music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Solo Monk by Thelonious Monk
Into the Hot by the Gil Evans Orchestra
Liberation Orchestra by C. Haden and Carla Bley
Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 10 Luidi Nono Variazioni
Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (ECM) by Alexander von Schlippenbach and me
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Fall der Berliner Mauer
Cities whose names tell their history
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Broadcasting office in RBB
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I’m going to another planet.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Mexican trad Folkmusic
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I can’t answer that question because there are many favorite artists I’d love to collaborate with.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
So far I have not been satisfied gig… On the contrary, I always want to be the best gig.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I am not a big believer in modern technology.
Excessive technological development seems to ruin people.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My brother favors me, a musician.