REVIEWS - CD "Spring in Bangkok"
Pianist Aki Takase and vocalist Lauren Newton have a lot in common.
Both have long left their respective native countries to make Germany
their home and are familiar with the piano-vocals duet format. Takase
has had a fruitful collaboration with singer Maria Joao and Newton has
followed the same road with pianist Patrick Scheyder . Therefore, it
was just a matter of time before their paths would cross as they did
on that September evening in Berlin that apparently conjured images of
Spring in Bangkok . One can only regret that both artists did not meet
earlier judging by the results of this first encounter. They produce
sparks throughout a varied and tasteful program that is alternately whimsical,
pastoral, lyrical, abstract, and dark, even chilling "Absturz Und
Wiedergeburt." A truly collaborative effort, the two musicians take
turns to move the music in any given direction, but what is most impressive
is Takase's and Newton's capacity at renewing themselves. They neither
get into a rut nor rely on well-tried tricks. The pianist makes the best
use of all the resources her instrument has to offer while the singer's
voice goes through countless mutations--sometimes at the drop of a hat--and
on occasions hints at her operatic background. Newton seldom resorts
to actual words, but the German language lends itself well to her vocalisms
("Das Scheint Mir Wichtig"). This live date confirms Takase's
ability to tackle many styles and could very well be Newton's most accessible
work to date. Highly recommended.