Go out and listen to something…

May 28, 2012

Burt Bacharach : Gershwin Award at the Library of Congress

Filed under: music — burnett @ 8:17 am

My colleague Ephriam Wolfolk and I had the good fortune to perform for a small get together at the Library of Congress on May 15, 2012.  The occasion was the Gershwin Award bestowed on Mr. Bacharach.  We had the immense pleasure to chat for awhile, specifically about the asymetrical song forms (he didn’t plan them) and his stint at Mannes College in the late forties.  He was a student of Martinu, among others, and hung out in the jazz rooms at night to hear Diz, Bird, etc.  A great life, and great training.  Anyway, I arranged his tunes so that he alone would even recognize them.  Which he did, and they were definitely a conversation starter.

Here they are, performed live.  Burnett Thompson, piano; Ephriam Wolfolk, bass.  The words of Burt Bacharach conclude the “Walk on By” mp3.

This Guy’s In Love

Walk on By

One Less Bell to Answer
Close to You

The Look of Love

November 29, 2011

Ningbo Concert: Nov 25 2011 Complete Recording

Filed under: music, China Tour 9, China — burnett @ 4:53 am

Burnett Thompson and Friends in Concert
Ningbo University
November 25, 2011
*Wang Yi Ni, vocal ;  Wang Lei Lei, vocal, *Wang Jian Qiao, erhu; *Song Wen Yue, erhu; Tom Smith, trombone and Jazz Department Director; *You Peng Wei, *Zhou Yu, *Xu Ying Ying, percussion  (* students at Ningbo University) 

Listen to the entire concert:

Take 5                                          composer: Dave Brubeck                               
The Little Sack                  Wang Yi Ni, vocal; Tom Smith, Trombone; Trad Chinese melody, arr. Burnett Thompson
Er Quan Ying Yue                           Song Wen Yue, erhu; Tom Smith, Trombone;   Composer: (A Bing) Hua Yanjun
Take the A Train                             Composer: Duke Ellington
Gentle Rain                                    Wang Jian Qiao, erhu;  Tom Smith, Trombone; Composer: Luis Bonfa
Shakespeare: Sonnet 66                 Wang LeiLei, vocal; Song Wen Yue, erhu; Composer: Burnett Thompson
I’ve got it Bad and that Ain’t Good   Tom Smith, Trombone; Composer: Duke Ellington
Shakespeare: Sonnet 154               Wang LeiLei, vocal; Song Wen Yue, erhu; Composer: Burnett Thompson
Groovin’ High                                 Tom Smith, Trombone; Composer: Dizzy Gillespie
Nice Work if you can Get it               Composer: George Gershwin
Sai Ma                                           Wang Jian Qiao, erhu; Trad. Chinese melody arr. Burnett Thompson
When the Saints Go Marching          Trad. American Melody
Georgia on My Mind                         Hoagy Carmichael

Ningbo Highlights

Filed under: music, travel, China Tour 9 — burnett @ 1:06 am


Ningbo Radio:  A one-hour live interview and performance with trombonist Tom Smith and Burnett Thompson.  A short audio clip in which Burnett explains things in Mandarin Chinese. 

above: In Concert Nov. 25,  B.T. and Wang Jian Qiao in concert; Tom Smith, Wang Yi Ni, B.T.


2 weeks at Ningbo University

Filed under: music, music education, travel, China Tour 9, China — burnett @ 12:10 am


I met Yu Hui at Shenyang Normal University last year, and after his arrival as Dean of the School of Arts at Ningbo University, he suggested I come to the school and participate in his new jazz program.  Hence   two weeks of teaching, rehearsals, lectures,  and performances, including the “American Jazz Music Week” (美国爵士音乐周).  The Jazz week included 6 performances, including a student concert, a couple of presentations by the remarkable trombonist Professor Tom Smith, my own lecture on Chinese & American music histories, and concluded with a big concert hosted by your truly.  From a personal perspective, this was one of the biggest highlights of 9 tours in China, and I have Yu Hui to thank for this rewarding experience. 

My goal as expressed to Yu Hui was to present the jazz piano course in Mandarin Chinese.  He in turn set up a daily two hour class, followed by two hours of rehearsals every day. I conducted these sessions entirely in Chinese, with the generous assistance of the students who helped me with the technical vocabulary and general pronunciations. 

The highlight of the trip was my Introduction to Jazz Piano Class, which included 12 students.  We met every day for 2 hours.  A close second was the two-hour daily rehearsals with a pair of erhu players and two singers. 

Above:  Yu Hui;  jazz piano class: 张大卫,朱佳,周琳, 周舒怡, 尤鹏玮,聂小涵,温馨,罗洁,,袁金宝,温馨 周余 徐莹莹, B.T.,  not present: 李化阳; Prof. Yang, translator Xin Chen, Prof. Zhong, Tom Smith, translator Ke Jin, B.T.; Concert: Wang Lei Lei, B.T., Song Wen Yue

May 1, 2011

Shanghai: My Landiao

Filed under: Art, travel, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 9:54 pm

On Wukang Lu you can find a small entrance, easy to miss, that houses the boutique of Lan She, proprietor of My Landiao.  Lan She  greets her customers as guests and numerous friends stop by just to say hello. A native of Guizhou, Lan She oversees a  collection of Guizhou clothing, handmade paper, and stunning handcrafted silver jewelry.  Her store is as much museum as storefront.  She introduced me to music from Guizhou, a very unusual vocal style, with unusual falling glissandos.  The music and artifacts may be found at www.mylandiao.com .

April 29, 2011

Shanghai Sonnets: The Concert, April 29, 2011 Two Cities Modern Art Gallery

Filed under: music, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 11:34 pm

Click here for the full Concert on Youtube 

Listen to the entire concert:
Sonnet 147, Sonnet 127,
Sonnet 154, Sonnet 8,
Sonnet 24, Sonnet 141,
Sonnet 128,Sonnet 54,
Sonnet 66,Sonnet 138

Article in Global Times: Global Times,
Interview at Smart Shanghai: Smart Shanghai                                                                                                   
Personnel:  Jin Ruo Wei, erhu; Chen Jia Jun, alto and soprano sax; EJ Parker, bass; Chris Trzcinski, drums; Burnett Thompson, Pianist.
Text by William Shakespeare.  Mandarin Chinese translation by Janet Tan.  Music composed by Burnett Thompson.



Shakespeare Sonnet Cycle in Shanghai

Filed under: Art, music, travel, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 1:45 am

Tonight:  The Song Cycle premieres at Two Cities Gallery in Shanghai. Music composed by Burnett Thompson.  Translation:  Janet Tan  

Today’s  Global Times:  Burnett Thompson, a noted jazz pianist and composer from Washington D.C., is just one of many who have professed a lifelong passion of the Bard’s professions of love. However, his own appreciation rings with a unique note all of its own. Thompson has spent 15 years developing a song cycle inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets…more  The Sonnet Cycle was born out of a long sequence of bardophilia, documented at www.SilentShakespeare.com  The song cycle includes a Salsa, a couple of Rock n Roll tunes, Viennese song form, jazz, and two songs written in traditional Chinese style, featuring erhu solo. 

Front page of Smart Shanghai:  Tonight at Two Cities, he’s doing the Sonnets, translated into Mandarin and performed with Coco Zhao assuming vocal duties. This is really great stuff…more

Audio Previews:  Sonnet 66 at Central China Univ. in Wuhan

Sonnet 127  at Youku and at Youtube  Video:  Lena Seikaly, Marshall Keys, Eric Wheeler

The performance here in Shanghai features the remarkable vocalist Coco Zhao, saxophonist Wilson Chen, erhu soloist Jin Ruo Wei, bassist EJ Parker, Drummer Chris Trzcinski and the blogger at the piano.

April 26, 2011

Shanghai: Food

Filed under: Art, music, travel, food, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 8:15 pm


Last night it was a new, and now my favorite, restaurant called Lucky Zen & Veg, a Bhuddist restaurant on Ma Dang Lu.  I was the guest of my very good friends Zhang Cong Mei and Ai Ling, and we had a feast.  Everything from the orange blossom tea to the soup, mushroom and cashews, limas and cashews, hot pepper beans and filo tofu, shredded filo tofu with ginger, etc, etc.  Very delicate, light, and wonderful flavors.  

Later stopped by JZ to hear my current favorite talent, Joey Lu.  Joey is an exciting pianist, a confident and stylish singer.  I can’t say I’ve seen anyone recently with her presence, bandleading ability, vocal talents, and immaculate command of the piano.  Of course, she had the  ’super trio’ behind her of Sean Higgins, Mike Hicks and the Chris Trzcinski. 

There is always something to see in the street here, and the moment can be so intimate, that I hesitate to take a photo.  I got past that for the “toilet on a bike” scene.  Convenience is everything in China, so why not a loo on the bicycle?  Save those time-consuming roadside stops.

My hotel, the Yesinn, is under renovation.  So I am in a construction site.  I’ve stayed here for 5 years, and don’t have the motivation to leave.  There are a handful of people still staying there, and we eye each other nervously in the elevator, wondering  what kind of person would remain in such a dreadful environment.  But aside from the wet concrete on the hallway floor, the power tools on the steps and the jack-hammer at 7:30 a.m. sharp, what’s to complain about?

photos:  BT & Zhang CongMei, Mike Hicks, Joey Lu, Chris Trzcinski, Sean Higgins’ elbow, bike vendor, bike loo


April 24, 2011

Shanghai: Clean Air

Filed under: Education, music, music education, travel, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 8:41 pm

Just kidding.  But compared to Wuhan, the air is at least breatheable.  Kicking off the usual sequence of dinners, coffees, hanging out, rehearsals, etc.  You never know whom you will meet in this city, like NY but more international…if that is possible.  Managed to catch Coco Zhao at JZ Club, led the Intro to Jazz Piano at the JZ School.  The photos:  Intro to Jazz Piano, a bunch of Brits at dinner, Coco & Huang Jianyi at JZ, and the ARt Deco Paramount Theater in Shanghai, Byron Wu & friends 

April 22, 2011

Wrapping it up in Wuhan

Filed under: music, music education, restaurants, China Tour 7, China — burnett @ 5:59 pm

The last event of the Wuhan trip was a party at the Renaissance Hotel celebrating their anniversary.  As a guest of the U.S. Consulate, I was treated to some fabulous food and a good bit of entertainment.  Earlier in the day, a couple hours at the university included sharing some of the jazz teaching method with a teacher, Ming Yue,  who understood things very quickly. 

« Previous PageNext Page »

Powered by WordPress