95

Jon Jang: Self Portrait

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
With this solo piano self portrait as a reference point, Jang reveals himself to be a sentimental improvisor with ears open to anything from gospel and folk to Chinese opera. It's Jang's own mixture, unlike anybody else's. The integrative jazz pianist tools through eleven tunes on Self Portrait, including seven original compositions with Chinese-American folk flair. Along the way he pauses to pay homage to the different "woman warriors" in his life who have inspired him. That list includes everyone from Mahalia Jackson and Joni Mitchell to the all-woman Shaoxing Opera Company, among the musical warriors—and his mother, wife, and daughter, among the family warriors.

The super-sensitive tone of this impressionistic record explores mild and atmospheric sensuality at the expense of energy and open expressionism, two of my favorite qualities in improvisation. At times Self Portrait veers dangerously close to the great dreaded quagmire of New Age. But if you don't have my particular sensitivity to that genre, this record has a lot to offer. It's a nice complement to the heap of good things that have been put out on Jang's label, AIR, over the last decade or so.


Track Listing: Two Flowers on a Stem; The Butterfly Dream; All I Want; Two Flowers Behind a Mist; Amazing Grace; Come Sunday; Chinese Sorrow Song for Paul Robeson; The Procession/Woman Shaman of Alishan; Two Flowers on a Stem (reprise); My Little One from Faraway; You'll Never Walk Alone.

Personnel: Jon Jang: piano.

Title: Self Portrait | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Asian Improv Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Little Steps" CD/LP/Track Review Little Steps
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Duo (DCWM) 2013" CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "Brasil L.I.K.E" CD/LP/Track Review Brasil L.I.K.E
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 30, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.