Burnett Thompson Blog

April 14, 2007

The tea in China

Filed under: Art, food, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:09 am

Pu-er is my favorite tea.� It is good for the digestion, easy on the tummy and has a good, dark flavor.� I first had it in January in Shanghai and then ordered some from a company called Adagio Tea here in the U.S.� Their tea (expensive) � smelled and tasted like rotten spinach, so when I went back to China, I stopped in a tea shop to see if my perceptions had been misstaken.� The shop owner invited me to be seated, and graciously tolerated my mandarin while I inquired about the teas.� She gave me a few pours, and I left with a few ounces of Pu-er.� (more…)

April 13, 2007

Traditional Chinese Music concerts in Shanghai, Chongming

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:57 am

From March 29 to April 10, Ma Xiaohui assembled a host of musicians for a series of 5 performances in various venues throughout Shanghai and the nearby island of Chongming.� The performers� included� Le Zhang, the concertmaster of the Shanghai Philharmonic, the principal cellist of the Phil, a percussionist who is a member of the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra, a free-lance percussionist who played the dagu, a free-lance traditional flutist (dizi), her trusted Pang on yangqing, a guzheng player, another violinist: � Mr. Deng; an itinerant jazz bassist on bells, and numerous children in various venues who performed on their erhu’s. Photos:� Liu at the dagu, Pang at the yangqin, & Dr. Xu joins us in rehearsal at Hua Shan hospital.

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April 12, 2007

Coco Zhao at JZ club April 8, 2007

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 8:56 pm

I had heard Coco Zhao ’s CD, Dream Situation, and was looking forward to his evening at JZ club.� Arrangements are� by violinist Peng Fei and the band includes pianist� Huang Jianyi, bassist E.J. Parker and drummer Chris Trzcinski.� Trzcinski was replaced by an excellent German drummer on this particular night.� � Coco is great to hear, and� the overall � style� is very sophisticated, ‘modern’ in terms of jazz genre.� He sings in Shanghainese, (more…)

Rolf Becker & the JZ All Star Band

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 8:03 pm

On Sat., April 7, I caught the JZ big band.� Rolf Becker, who has had a lengthy career as an arranger and performer in Europe, is the leader and arranger for this group.� � (Becker is able to maintain his European activities while based in Shanghai).� � The band� includes 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 reeds, piano, bass, drums, guitar and vocalist.� They did a few of the Basie classics:� The Best is Yet to Come and Fly me to the Moon among them.� The last set included a couple Thad Jones arrangements.� The club was jammed and the crowd adores this band, and rightfully so.� (more…)

April 1, 2007

More Shanghai jazz scene

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:09 pm

I went to the JZ club for the first time last night. � The club is owned by the same gentleman who owns the JZ school. � The place was jammed, and is clearly a Shanghai scene. � There is nothing like it in Washington, DC, in shear terms of popularity and success. � The quartet included an excellent pianist, Victor Noriega, from Seattle. � He had a very settled quality to his playing, and it allowed him to make some clever and forceful musical statements, if you will. (more…)

The JZ School in Shanghai

Filed under: music, music education, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 6:08 pm

Today marked my first meeting with Lawrence Ku, director of the JZ jazz school. � Lawrence and I share an affiliation with New England Conservatory where he participated in the M.Mus program for Jazz Studies. � It was clear that Lawrence has taken on an enormous task. � Since there is no jazz school in Washington, DC, home of Duke Ellington, I cannot imagine starting one in Shanghai. � The building is terrific, has real style, and the school has an excellent coterie of faculty and staff. (more…)

Zhang Zongmei

Filed under: Art, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 4:00 pm

The highlight of Moganshan Lu was my visit with Zhang Zongmei. � I walked into an unimproved space in which there were photos on the walls and more photos stacked haphazardly around the room. � I was motioned to have a seat at a tea table and was served jasmine tea by a gentleman in his mid 40’s with hair to his waist. � This was Zhang Zongmei, photographer, artist and poet. (more…)

Moganshan Lu Art Galleries

Filed under: Art, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 3:52 pm

March 30 was a good day to visit 50 Moganshan Lu, a loft space with about 30
art galleries, built into an old factory. I suspect this space could be
razed any day to build another 90 story skycraping extravaganza, but in the
meantime it is a fascinating destination. I have no understanding of the
art market, but it did not seem that there were bargains to be had here.
The galleries hosted very fine artists with extraordinary skills. (more…)

The Second China Tour

Filed under: music, China Tour 2 — burnett @ 3:47 pm

I scheduled this return trip to Shanghai based on several invitations to
return, all of which were postponed or cancelled. � So I arrived March 28
with only two private appearances scheduled, in addition to some classes.
No sooner had I landed than 5 hours of rehearsal were scheduled on the day
of my arrival. � The personnel included a � brilliant and widely
(internationally) recognized violinist and a very fine Chinese traditional
percussionist. (more…)

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