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Max Roach/Jon Jang/Jiebing Chen: Beijing Trio

Mark Corroto By

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Let me suggest a new name for this group. How about the American-Jing Trio? This combination of African-American Max Roach with Chinese-American Jon Jang and Jiebing Chen of China makes an improvisational music, which can be pinned, straight to a map of American music. The recording, a combination of duos and trios of Roach’s drums, Jang’s Piano and Chen’s Erhu a Chinese two-string violin, is an intimate portrait of well, let’s call it blues. Jang has made his career at the piano fusing Chinese sounds with jazz. His overtly political music has been well documented on Soul Note and Asian Improv Record labels where earlier this year he released an excellent solo disc Self Portrait. Max Roach is a drumming institution. He ushered in bebop with Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie, later he formed his famous quintet with Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins. Roach released his own political music, a historical document from the civil rights movement. Jiebing Chen a Chinese citizen, who has studied in the States, plays a traditional Chinese instrument, the Erhu, which sounds like a cross between a violin and a theramin. This isn’t a gimmicky recording in the least. It’s at times a drum clinic, other times meditative music, and mostly great interplay between improvisers. To paraphrase Duke Ellington there is no such thing as world music (jazz), just good music and bad music. Look for this disc on many, including my top ten releases for 1999.

Track List:Moon Over The Great Wall; Sweet Whisper Of A Flower. Heart In A Different Place; Fallen Petals; Now’s The Time; When Blossoms Bloom; The Flowing Stream.

Personnel: John Jang - Piano; Jiebing Chen

Title: Beijing Trio | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Asian Improv Records

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