The right or wrong combination of elements in music can have successful or unpleasant results. As in any mixture: too much or too little may affect the final outcome. When the right blend of musicianship and instrumental elements are successfully combined; true art emerges. Such is the case with A Symphony of Cities which features totally improvised music by master musicians: percussionist Famoudou Don Moye and bassist Tatsu Aoki.
The combining forces of ‘Sun’ percussionist Moye from the acclaimed avant-garde group Art Ensemble of Chicago and renowned composer-bassist Aoki who leads the Miyumi Project Big Band bring diverse yet unified parts to the project just as a symphony which combines many elements. Both Chicago musicians are from different urban origins. Aoki is from Tokyo and Moye’s hometown is Rochester NY. Add into the talent mix, saxophonist Francis Wong from San Francisco and flautist Joel Brandon from Los Angeles, and the theme is realized for A Symphony of Cities.
The recording begins with the 24-minute percussive selection “Afro Asian Reflections” executed by Moye and Aoki, which evolves like a trek on an ancient passageway with the ageless sounds of tribal drums, gongs, and an array of other unusual instruments. Their musical prowess reveals their instrumental mastery with an awesome display of skill and intensity on composition “Promise” which is a showcase for an extraordinary bass and drum workout. Global urbanites Brandon and Wong enter the soundscape on the third selection “Ode To Wilbur Ware” with warm intensity on the sax and flute. The music combines African and Asian influences along with a strong “free jazz” mentality as is evident on the tour de force composition “Tokyomad Tonal Efficiency.”
The sound of this recording is also a real treat as each instrument’s powerful and intricate voice comes through and transports the listener to another environment. The infectious percussion and interesting rhythms combined with a global yet urban flavor make A Symphony of Cities a unique and rewarding musical experience.
Track Listing: 1. Afro Asian Reflections 2. Promise 3. Ode To Wilbur Ware
4. Tokyomad Tonal Efficiency 5. Soba Soba
Personnel: Tatsu Aoki - Percussion, Bass, Artistic Producer;
Famoudou Don Moye - Percussion, Drums, Artistic Producer;
Joel Brandon - Flute, Whistle; Francis Wong - Saxophone
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!