Jiaowei Hu

Jazz reported, from China.

About Me

I'm currently an independent jazz observer and writer based in Shanghai, China.

I've gained a four-year writing experience with over 60 published pieces on-and off-line, 3 released and printed in English before contributing to AAJ. A regular writer for Blue Note China, as they've been filling their official blog with critical writings, in order to help the popularization of jazz in the mainland, for the sake of upcoming musicians and gigs introduction. I write for JZ Club in Shanghai from time to time too, which holds the biannually JZ Festival besides being run a jazz venue. I'm also a long-term participant specialized in jazz since 2016, writing brochures of the annually MISA Festival held by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In May 2019, I accomplished a local government-commissioned research project on “Youth Engagement in Jazz Industry of Shanghai” alone.

What I really want to achieve through jazz writing, is to bring people and different parties together. Building bridges for people to meet, for me it would be across ethnics and races, across religions and beliefs, across genders and generations, across occupations and fields, even across diverse ways of thinking. That's how jazz has enlightened me, so I wanted to write about it in return and I've been taking my part in the whole jazz popularization process in China to date. One day it suddenly hits me, that I should help to let the world hear what's happening in China as well, since I'm already one of the few that write the most about jazz in my country. Being a long-time follower of AllAboutJazz, now I'm here to contribute, as well as to learn. To be connected, and to want to connect.

So I write, with hands. But for sure it all started from ears at the first place.

I definitely didn't grow up in jazz, despite the fact that I'm born and bred a Shanghainese girl, in a city that had a history with jazz back in the 20s. I learned classical piano since a child in the 90s, and the high school years went so quickly as I was listening to almost all kinds of “western music” including rock n' roll, heavy metal, hip hop, country, etc. etc.. That sounds Chinese, yeah I'm fully aware. But, except jazz during that time. Anything but jazz before attending university.

I wasn't against jazz, by no means. In mandarin we have this word “缘分” (pronounced in Chinese Pin Yin as: Yuán Fèn). It means, a predestined relationship, some sort of fate or destiny that brings people together, or apart. The best is yet to come. It came late but in a perfect form. I guess that's what happened when it came to jazz and me.

About nine years ago, I heard “Jasmine” by chance, an ECM record by the duo of Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden. Influenced by the piano and classical music side perhaps, I was totally gravitated. It's indeed a beginner-friendly album, that sort of “introducing album material” that even today, I still recommend to my Chinese friends who have no idea what jazz is, but get curious and want to learn more about the genre.

Later, jazz has just been revealing itself even more to me, throughout the years. Even today, when I write, I learn. When I interview, I learn. When I hear... certainly. It's always a bless to feel learning a joy. Everyone is not Einstein. But jazz sometimes pushes you into a state of wanting to be everything, including a scientist, even a wanderer as well. Imaginary, in your own mind. And it opens you up from inside. It has become a lifetime attitude.

Diversity. Freedom. Naturality. I'm totally in for these and jazz has them all. So here I am, writing on jazz from the Far East. From China. It has a growing market, even the musicians can tell. But that's only the shallow surface of it. Inside, I think today we are in common in the spirit - usually a bit timid to express it though - that we aspire to open up to the world and get connected, just like anyone else.

My Jazz Story

Diversity. Freedom. Naturality. The DIVERSITY of displaying and fusing any elements into a whole fresh thing. The FREEDOM based on creativity as well as friendly and considerate band cooperation, and a fearless soul to go anywhere, on one's own or in a team. The NATURALITY as one stays true to his inner feelings and physical motions, true to his mind-thinking and self-expressing, true to himself when creating music. I've found that these three merits of jazz musicians, do pass on to the audience and listeners, rush deep into their hearts and sometimes put impacts on them for the better.

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