Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

154

Bang on a Can: Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
As much as the Kronos Quartet paved the way for modern chamber musicians to broaden their horizons by recording genre-busting albums including Pieces of Africa , Bang on a Can has extended that road by, amongst other things, interpreting ambient works like Brian Eno's Music for Airports. Both groups, one a more conventional chamber quartet, the other a rather odd ensemble that includes guitar, bass, percussion, clarinet, keyboards and cello, have breathed new life into a stale form by expanding on the type of material available for examination.

It's no coincidence that Bang on a Can has chosen to release two albums on the same day. One, Phillip Glass: 5ths , re-evaluates early minimalist work that blends longer Eastern forms with more Western harmonic conventions. The other, Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing , teams the group with Naing, Burmese master of the pat waing, a traditional instrument made of 21 separately tuned drums, for a programme that does the opposite—blend more Eastern harmonic conventions with shorter Western form. The result is two recordings that redefine the meaning of modern chamber music, with Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing in particular demonstrating just how far afield it can go in the hands of more forward-thinking musicians.

There is an overriding sense of joy about Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing. On a program of Burmese music that includes four pieces by Naing, the members of Bang on a Can continue to prove themselves to be highly adaptable players. The material is characterized by rapid shifts in tempo and call-and-response type passages between Naing's pat waing and Bang on a Can's more conventional instrumentation. Harmonically based around various pentatonic scales, the compositions are pleasing to the ear, without any sharp edges or jagged dissonances. But the rhythmic complexity of the pieces more than make up for any melodic simplicity, in terms of providing a challenge for both the musicians and the listener. But the disparity between an almost na've harmonic sensibility and a more tightly-construed rhythmic concept make for a programme that is richly varied yet never less than approachable.

Naing's percussion work is remarkable, with a dexterity that is more than a little frightening with all the shifting tempos. Still, David Cossin's drum set and Robert Black's bass form a rhythm section that is at times quite conventionally Western in its approach, most notably on the piece "Improvisation," where Naing, guitarist Mark Stewart and violinist Todd Reynolds, on loan from Cantaloupe label-mates Ethel , get the chance to take more than a few risks.

Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing continues to assert that the contemporary chamber group is more than just viable; it is a living, breathing and evolving form. By expanding the timbral palette beyond the conventional and experimenting with music from broader sources, Bang on a Can continues to transcend narrow definition and stylistic constraint.


Track Listing: Hsaing Kyaik De Maung; Ka Pya Chi; Sein Chit Tee a Mhat Ta Ya; Seik Kyu Ahla (1); Japan Patsan/Taethit Muhan Gita Than; Improvisation; Kyi Nu Bwe; Seik Kyu Ahla; Sein Ozi

Personnel: Ma Aye Myint (si wa), Robert Black (bass), David Cossin (drumset), Lisa Moore (piano), Kyaw Kyaw Naing (pat waing, gongs, 6-drum set, pat ma), Marc Perlman (keyboard), Todd Reynolds (violin), Mark Stewart (guitar), Wendy Sutter (cello), Maung Maung Myint Swe (si wa), Evan Ziporyn (clarinet)

Title: Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Cantaloupe Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII Album Reviews
Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII
By Karl Ackermann
February 15, 2019
Read Free Fall Album Reviews
Free Fall
By Peter Hoetjes
February 15, 2019
Read Diversity Album Reviews
Diversity
By Mark Corroto
February 15, 2019
Read After Us Album Reviews
After Us
By Paul Rauch
February 15, 2019
Read Etcetera Album Reviews
Etcetera
By Patrick Burnette
February 15, 2019
Read Groove City Album Reviews
Groove City
By Dan Bilawsky
February 14, 2019
Read I Always Knew Album Reviews
I Always Knew
By Jack Bowers
February 14, 2019