123

Jon Jang: Self Portrait

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Self Portrait is pianist/composer Jon Jang’s first CD for “Asian Improv Records” in over 10 years. A label in which he and others, such as composer/saxophonist/producer Francis Wong organized and launched back in 1987. Since then, Jang has gone on to carve out a noteworthy reputation as an often brilliant pianist/composer and bandleader who possesses the distinctive qualities of a modern day visionary who draws upon his Asian heritage as a source for inspiration and musical implementation. Jang is a master at fusing Oriental modalities and Asian folk idioms with Western harmonic, melodic and chromatic concepts yet Jang has also engineered a deeply personal sound and style as a musician of great depth, feeling and substance! On Self Portrait, Jang is the consummate stylist as the music presented here is utterly magical! Jang opens with the gorgeous “Two Flowers On A Stem” which is dedicated to his mother and wife. Here, the pianist’s deft phrasing and richly melodic themes are quietly majestic and altogether heart warming. A fitting or appropriate musical statement conveyed in succinct yet subtle fashion as you are liable to hear some of the most beautiful themes imaginable, which consists of melding dim Oriental motifs with passionately executed melodies. Jang continues with a splendid rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want” as he produces swirling chord clusters along with intricate thematic evolvement while also emphasizing the memorable harmonies in sublime or indirect fashion.

Jang also tackles “Amazing Grace” while exhibiting his appreciation for Gospel and the Blues. With Ellington’s “Come Sunday”, Jang’s effective if not signature style utilization and execution of tremolo and surging crescendos enables the listener to grasp the underlying melody as if he were indeed asking for the listener’s participation. At times, Jang eludes the obvious yet renders many of these pieces from an equidistant or inward approach which represents one of the many distinguishing factors he possesses as an accomplished technician coupled with an acute and supremely inventive ear as an arranger. Jang jazzes it up on “The Procession/Woman Shaman of Alishan” as he once again injects a systematic view of Western musical forms with Oriental underpinnings.

Self Portrait is indeed a stirring profile of this extremely gifted musician and one of the most memorable jazz-related solo piano performances in recent memory yet the music transcends categorization! Jon Jang’s worldly and comprehensive approach should provide glistening entertainment to a vast audience. There are no barriers or boundaries to be found on Self Portrait as the shackles of restraint become undone along with any comparisons or stereotypical aspects of music in general! The message may be that simple! Highly recommended! * * * * *

Jon Jang; Solo Piano:

Web: www.asianimprov.com


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Revolution Before Lunch" CD/LP/Track Review Revolution Before Lunch
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Guitar Fantasies" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Fantasies
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Beguiled" CD/LP/Track Review Beguiled
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!