What a surprise !!
As a fan of Fats Waller's music I found a announcement for a program at Mezzo ( a French music TV station) titled Freedom Now ! Aki Takase plays Fats Waller.
Well, I'd never heard about her and so I switch on the TV-set for her show last week. It was a surprise. The program was a mix between a concert, a documentary, a sound- and a film project, a piece of art, so a various program. Not a note-for-note copying of Fats stride piano nor singing, as we know from musicans like Ralph Sutton, but a new interpretation of his well known tunes.
Who is this Aki Takase? Her web site gives us the information: http://www.akitakase.com/aki/ Born in Japan, she's now active as a piano player and composer in the European (free)jazz and neuen jazz scene especially in Germany. Her Fats Waller project is not her first one - other projects were solo and duo projects with musicans like Alex von Schlippenbach, a well known free jazz musician.
I'm sure that a lot of you will knit yours brows hearing the sometimes weird rhythms and sounds, but I was suprised to hear how she used the well known Waller tunes, using the same drive and swing and her free stride piano playing style. I had to smile hearing her banjo player Eugene Chadbourne plunged into Wallers scats.
If you visit her web site, don't hesitate to find her projects and click on one of the two sound fragments that illustrate her Fats Waller project. I was very surprised, so for me it is great music !!