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Take Five With Simon C.F. Yu

AAJ Staff By

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Ken FieldsMeet Simon C.F. Yu:
Traditional Chinese and Contemporary Jazz Experimental Fretted/Fretless Guitarist/Composer/Producer. Born and raised in Hong Kong in a Traditional Instrumentalists family (members of Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra), now living and playing in New York City.



Simon has performed worldwide, including dates in: the USA (New York, Los Angeles) and Boston); Japan (Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima); China (Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong).

Instrument(s):
Fretted, Fretless and Quartertone Guitar.



Teachers and/or influences?
Studied with David "Fuze" Fiuczynski, Adam Rogers, Tim Miller, Mick Goodrick, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Hal Crook and others.



I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I first played the guitar.



Your sound and approach to music:
Influenced by my family, I add Traditional Chinese Music elements to my music; Pentatonic melodies with Modal Jazz Harmonies; Contemporary Western Rhythms with Chinese Folk song/Opera elements.

I've made music that incorporates Traditional Chinese Instruments including Gu Zheng, Erhu, Souna, Guan, Xun, Big Drums and others.



Your teaching approach:
1: Technique; 2: Harmony; 3: Fun.



Your dream band:
My present band plus all kinds of Chinese Traditional Instrumentalists, a DJ and Surround Sound Engineer.



Anecdote from the road:
My guest performer (Erhu player) in Beijing forced the band to drink a really strong Chinese wine (52% alcohol)....and she drove the car after that!



Favorite venue:
Best place: Shanghai Concert Hall in China (we got 1200 people);

Best sound: The Annex, in New York City.



Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Pentatonicism - Exotic Species, my second album, can be purchased at CDBaby. It's my first collaboration with Gu Zheng and it works.



What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Playing from my heart, doing what I am. (my mentor, David "FUZE" Fiuczynski, taught me this).



Did you know...
Microtonal Music, quarter-tonal (24 notes per octave), 72 notes per Octave, Arabic Systems.

How do you use the internet to help your career?
I have over ten websites, they connect me to all the people around the world.



CDs you are listening to now:
David Fiuczynski, Kif Express;
Christian Scott, Rewind That.



How would you describe the state of jazz today?
No money, but it is the most creative style, and can collaborate with anything.



What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
It holds the key for the music's evolution. Its harmonic concept is still the mainframe of all contemporary western music.



What is in the near future?
Touring in Taiwan, summer 2009 with my Traditional Chinese/Contemporary Jazz Project; producing Electronic Tracks with Chinese Music Elements.



By Day:
Producing tracks for Hong Kong pop idols.


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