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John Yao's Triceratops: How We Do

Read "How We Do" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Trombonist and bandleader John Yao possesses a penchant for imposing ambitious artistic constraints on himself. How We Do continues that trend with a newly formed quintet comprised only of three horns, bass, and drums. Yao further ups the ante by composing demanding pieces that often careen from one stylistic approach to another within the same tune. This breed of endeavor can result in a final product mainly appreciated by fellow musicians and dedicated aficionados. Fortunately, Yao and his ...

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John Yao Quintet: Presence

Read "Presence" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

As human beings we tend to take the very notion of presence for granted, be it the presence of a loved one in our lives, the presence manufactured by our own actions as we present ourselves to the world, or the presence of all that comes and goes in our daily existence. For some reason these things just rarely factor into the way we think from moment to moment. But they should. Those multiple dimensions of meaning ...

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John Yao: Flip-Flop

Read "Flip-Flop" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On his 2012 debut, trombonist John Yao navigated multiple complex territories ranging from the experimental to traditional balladry. A regular presence on the New York scene, Yao has worked with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. Having absorbed those big band sensibilities, Yao graduates from his inaugural quintet to a seventeen-piece ensemble. Flip-Flop features ten Yao compositions ranging from straight-ahead swing to frenzied group improvisations. Joining Yao are two top-tier saxophonists in Jon Irabagon--of ...

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John Yao and His 17-Piece Instrument: Flip-Flop

Read "Flip-Flop" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Music aside, you have to love the name of this band: John Yao and His 17-Piece Instrument. Now there's confidence with a capital C! Yao, a New York City-based trombonist who arrived there from his native Chicago more than a decade ago, has more recently turned his hand to composing and arranging. Yao writes with the group dynamic in mind, one result of which is Flip-Flop, an adventurous big-band debut on which Yao's all-star “Instrument" performs his elaborate charts with ...

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John Yao: Flip-Flop

Read "Flip-Flop" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

The trombone is one of jazz's secret weapons. Not as ubiquitous as the saxophone or as iconic as the trumpet in the popular imagination, it nonetheless holds a powerful position as one of jazz's defining instruments. It's also the case that the trombone appears to be currently experiencing a renaissance--one which trombonist, composer, and bandleader John Yao's sophomore effort Flip-Flop is clearly a part. Comprised of ten compositions for his 17-piece big band, Yao demonstrates how when properly ...


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