I grew up in a jazz-filled house. My father is a big band jazz fan, my mother likes swing and Frank Sinatra. It was only natural that I should follow in their footsteps and find my own path in enjoying listening to jazz.
These days, jazz is a multi-faceted genre. The latest edition of the Beishan International Jazz Festival, taking place at the end of the month (29 and 30 September 2015), is brought to life by WhattheCHEONG Creative Solutions, Zhuhai, China, and features small band musicians and soloists from around the world. Let’s swing!
From China, Italy and South Korea come the CMI Quartet. Top Canadian bassist Sylvain Gagnon will be there with his quartet as will the Dock in Absolute trio from Belgium and Luxembourg. Bulgarian-born, US-based Hristo Vitchev is bringing his quartet to Beishan to play too, while the family-run Swing Brosse System’s range runs from Libertango to Summertime and St James Infirmary.
Homegrown talent in the form of the Luo Ning Trio will also be on show at Beishan, and if you consider it strange that Chinese musicians love to play jazz, remember that music is a universal language. Latin music does not have to be played in Brazil, after all. Like Lang Lang in the classical world, Luo Ning is an arresting piano player who performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
There seems to be a vibrant cultural exchange between Asia and Italy, because The East West Quintet also shares this strand of influence with the CMI Quartet, being led by a Chinese man and an Italian woman. They love South American tango music, and infuse those references into their work on a regular basis. Also featuring South American jazz music is the Ernesto Jodos Trio, which makes sense, seeing as the leader is an Argentinean.
The guest of honor is American saxophonist Tim Ries, who has played with the Rolling Stones. If it’s musical inspiration you’re after, Tim will provide it across many genres. He’s been with the Stones for the last 15 years or so, but has also played with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Maynard Ferguson, Michael Jackson and various symphony orchestras.
Having listened to several of these groups while researching and writing this article, my head is now awash with jazz of all eras and many influences. Should any readers wish to attend the Beishan International Jazz Festival, there is a comprehensive website, while all enquiries should be directed to WhattheCHEONG's PR team. The company also has a range of merchandise available online; purchase is not restricted simply to those who were there. For the latest, freshest take on international jazz, fans should head to Beishan later this month.
[Courtesy of Rainbow Chazers: