Ms. Min, a spry and fearless practitioner of the pipa, a Chinese lute, has a new album out, titled Mao, Monk and Me. On it she performs and sings unaccompanied, blending the music of Thelonious Monk with Chinese folk song and her own experimental excursions.
The New York Times
Min Xiao-Fen demonstrated the instrument’s (and her) versatility by introducing the pipa with a sassy, credible, improvised Monk’s “Ask Me Now.”
Los Angeles Times
…Monk’s music has become intertwined with her own on Min’s most personal release to date, ‘Mao, Monk and Me.’ The striking album reimagines Monk’s iconic melodies for the pipa, the Chinese lute of which Min is a long-recognized master and innovator, fusing those jazz classics with traditional Chinese folk songs and Min’s startlingly original...
Min Xiao-Fen, a sublime pipa player and a canny improviser who went toe-to-toe with the legendary Derek Bailey on multiple occasions… she performs her "Mao, Monk and Me" solo; then, she leads her quartet through "From Harlem to Shanghai and Back," a suite that commemorates trumpeter Buck Clayton's visit to Shanghai in the mid-’30s.
Time Out New York
Min Xiao-Fen is a masterful interpreter of Monk. Unburdened by instrumental lineage or cultural signifiers, she is free to treat Monk the same way Monet did his waterlilies…You’ve never heard Monk like this.
The New York City Jazz Record
Her improv work with Derek Bailey and John Zorn has taken her ancient Chinese string instrument into the future.
The Village Voice
Since her arrival here in 1996, she has expanded her instrument's possibilities as an
element for contemporary composers and as a voice within the landscapes of jazz and
Wall Street Journal
Min Xiao-Fen, is a pipa player like no other… In her trio, Blue Pipa, with guitar and double bass, the lutelike pipa becomes a super-banjo