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Commissioned by the Kitchen in 2007, Calligraphy and music by
In Chinese culture, calligraphy and music are considered among the highest
forms of expression. This performance includes both. The writing that
appears onstage represents different forms of the Chinese character for
dragon chosen from different periods in ancient Chinese history.
My music is inspired by the spirit, energy and fantasy of the dragon.
MIN XIAO-FEN ASIAN TRIO
The Asian Trio doesn't exactly stick to Asian music - the name has more to
do with where the musicians are from than what they play.
Korean cellist Okkyung Lee and Japanese percussionist Satoshi Takeishi are
both important figures on New York's jazz and improvised-music scenes, and
at least in this group bandleader Min Xiao-Fen favors an elastic, expansive
strain of improv that's not hitched to any particular idiom - though she
plays a traditional lute like instrument called the pipa, she only
occasionally betrays her Chinese roots.
Since moving from China to New York in 1992, Min has moved fluidly between
radically different communities - Chinese classical music, jazz, free improv
- and worked with everyone from Tan Dun to Randy Weston to Derek Bailey.
This trio just might show off that malleability best. A live set recorded in
Philadelphia in 2007
(slated for release on a new label run by Ars Nova, Philly's most important
jazz and improvised-music presenter)
includes chaotic textural passages, where Min injects the tumble of notes
with vocal shouts and whinnies; gently lyrical spells, where Lee's lovely
bowing forms a plush cushion for
Min's spindly pipa; and electronically refracted episodes, where Takeishi
switches from drums to live processing that warps and colors his band mates
By Peter Margasak "Chicago Reader"