This is music that must not be regarded off-handedly with nonchalance. Featuring a dynamic triumvirate of Max Roach, Jon Jang and Jiebing Chen, it merits being viewed as a landmark singular treatment. A world renowned iconic percussionist of contemporary American music, Roach is simply sublime. An inveterate seeker of new experiences and discoveries, he is never at a standstill. With irreproachable artistic integrity, his obsessive quest has led him to this highly unusual recording project. “I’m always looking for new ideas and this was an elegantly fresh, new one for me. Because I’ve been involved with creative music for a long, long time, it is rare to do some things I haven’t done before,” says Roach. “So it was an opportunity to deal with completely new ideas with the brillant Jon Jang and the wonderful erhu artist Jiebing Chen.”
The spirited group gestalt infectiously pulls the listener into their conversations. All three are master storytellers taking advantage of an intimate conversation approach, ignoring any formal regularity. Tightly attuned to the nuances of each other’s feelings, personalities and inner souls, the trio illustrates how simpatico players can relieve tension and allow passage for individuality and spontaneous imaginations. It’s micro-democracy at work and play.
Beyond these dynamics lies the crux and fulcrum of the experience of this recording that celebrates diversity and juxtaposition of cultures and people. Jang believes “We are making music that is constantly and culturally translocating itself – from North Carolina (Roach) to North China (Chen).” And, of course, the intervallic connection between the two is Jang in North California. What is also intriguing stems from the confluence of cross-cultural pollination – as it embodies the holism of music cast in a contemporary complexion and context. Together the trio evolved a novel, tenaciously new musical dialect.
Jon Jang – Piano
Jiebing Chen – Erhu
Max Roach – Drums
1. Moon Over the Great Wall – 11:41
Executive Producer Steve Phillips
Asian Improv Records
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