Concert / Live Stream
Jazzfest Berlin – Johannesburg

Aki Takase’s Japanic // Herbie Tsoaeli


The South African bassist Herbie Tsoaeli purveys a classic post-bop sound, melding the spirituality of the classic John Coltrane Quartet, South African melodies and gospel cadences, while Aki Takase’s quintet Japanic looks to the player-piano music of American composer Conlon Nancarrow as inspiration.

Aki Takase’s Japanic / Herbie Tsoaeli

Aki Takase’s Japanic // Herbie Tsoaeli

© Dirk Bleicker / Steve Gordon,

Past Dates

Concerts online
Watch these concerts as a recording at  ARTE Concert or in the  Berliner Festspiele Media Library.

Albert-Mangelsdorff-Preis 2021: Aki Takase

Award ceremony of the German Jazz Union as part of the Jazzfest Berlin

Live concert in Berlin / ca. 50 min

Aki Takase’s Japanic

Berlin’s beloved Aki Takase is as artistically restless as they come, feeding her impulses with a steady diet of disparate collaboration. Her sublime Japanic quintet was assembled to pay indirect homage to the maverick American composer Conlon Nancarrow, who wrote humanly impossible pieces for mechanical piano, and while this project formed with DJ Illvibe rarely evokes those breathless constructions, it does celebrate his fascination with careening tempos and freakish counterpoint. On the group’s superb 2019 debut album “Thema Prima”, drummer Dag Magnus Narvesen and bassist Johannes Fink lay down sturdy grooves as a kind of ballast for the wildly zigzagging lines of the rest of the nimble combo, which also includes the imaginative saxophonist Daniel Erdmann. But it is the competing and complementary energies of Takase and Illvibe that take center stage, unleashing seemingly incongruous lines that coalesce masterfully. The music delivers a furiously swinging post-bop framework, but each piece includes elements that go against the grain, with Illvibe rarely deploying samples in conventional fashion, but instead operating like a sound sculptor.

Aki Takase piano
Daniel Erdmann saxophone
DJ Illvibe turntables, electronics
Johannes Fink double bass
Dag Magnus Narvesen drums

Live stream from Johannesburg / ca. 30 min

Herbie Tsoaeli: “Afrikan Time – Our Sound / Hours Sound”

Bassist and bandleader Herbie Tsoaeli is a gray eminence on South Africa’s bustling jazz scene, a musician who remembers first-hand the depredations of the Apartheid era as a child in the Nyanga East Township of Capetown. He has endured, serving as a trusted, invaluable sideman, and eventually becoming a bandleader himself where he has functioned as a crucial mentor to many of the talents that have emerged in recent years, such as the acclaimed pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, who previously played in the bassist’s influential combo African Time. Tsoaeli’s 2013 debut as a bandleader was honoured as best jazz album by the South African Music Awards. His unerring time and warm tone anchor the deeply spiritual jazz of his band, connecting the searching tone of John Coltrane’s classic quartet with a touch of gospel and traditional South African melodies. For this live video stream, he leads the current incarnation of his quintet, which is joined by a trio of superb singers: Busi Sibeko, Bongani Nikelo, and Sakhile Moleshe.

Herbie Tsoaeli bass, vocal
Ayanda Sikade drums
Yonela Mnana piano
Sakhile Simane trumpet, fluegelhorn
Sisonke Xhonti tenor sax
Busi Sibeko vocals
Bongani Nikelo vocals
Sakhile Moleshe vocals

This concert is part of Jazzfest Berlin – Johannesburg