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LOG - 22

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21 Oct - John Berndt and friends (Michael Gayle -piano; ) UMBC

26 Oct - Tuned in to the webcast of a jazz show on WKCR (89.9 FM), the Columbia Univ. station. DJ Ritwik Banerji interviewed saxophonist Rudy Mahanthappa live in the studio. The latter discussed his new album, "Mother Tongue", much of which is based on answers to the question, 'Do you speak Indian?' What he did was to solicit responses in different languages spoken in India (he was able to get 5, none of them Hindi) and then interpreted them musically...Good interview

28 Oct - Saw a recital by percussionist Steven Schick (UCSD) at UMBC. One of the pieces he performed was a match between language and percussion. He spoke French while accompanying himself with an array of percussive objects...

31 Oct - Heard pianist Amy Lin give a recital at the 2nd Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. She played pieces by Debussy, Schubert, Chou, Yi, and Beethoven.
  She has quite a technique, with remarkable finger dexterity, supple wrists that allowed her to briskly pummel series of chords, and very graceful turns of her hands. (And thankfully, no overswaying of her torso.)
  Yet I wished she could have added more fire to her playing. She tended to be on the soft, quiet side. She needed more dynamic range and shading to keep things more interesting.
  I thought she sounded the best on the Beethoven sonata -- her encore!. (Usually, a performer doesn't extend a recital with a long piece as an encore, but maybe this is her custom.) She crunched those dramatic Beethoven chords.
  Unfortunately, the most interesting piece, Chen Yi's "Duo Ye", seemed somewhat discontinuous or haphazard. There were many pauses between phrases, and the ending took me by suprise. (It seemed a bit abrupt.) ...Not sure who's at fault, the composer or performer?
The other modern piece, Chou Wen-chung's "The Willows are New", was rather unattractive. Too many deep bass rumblings paired with dissonant notes in higher registers. (Or maybe the piece was appropriately unpleasant to go with Halloween.) In her remarks before playing the contemporary works, Lin said that at times Chou was trying to evoke the sound of the cheng, a Chinese 7-string zither. Perhaps it would've been more closely evoked if the composer had required the performer to reach into the piano and stroke undampered strings. (Trick or treat?)
[Lin teaches piano in Strasbourg, France. She has many ties to Baltimore having studied at Johns Hopkins Univ., Peabody Institute, and privately with Leon Fleisher.]

6 Nov - Rachel Leyco band came up from Richmond, Virginia to play at UMBC's Commons Cabaret (Baltimore County, Md). They sounded very tight. Leyco was on guitar (acoustic and electric), Scott Harris on bass (new to the band, only a couple months), and John O'Donnell on drums. I'd like to see her songwriting develop further (at least harmonically, beyond I/IV/V chords). She's an English and Women's Studies major (or double major?) at Virginia Commonwealth U in Richmond. Her plan is to do some extensive touring with the band, once she graduates.
She told me that most of the venues she plays in Virginia (in places around Richmond and Virginia Beach) expect bands to play covers (popular hits). But she wants to do mainly her own songs. She might get her wish, as she mentioned that she recently got a feeler from a label in Nashville.

14 Nov - Karin Brown (viola) accompanied by Micah Yui (piano), An Die Musik, Baltimore... Bach, Bliss, Takemitsu - I left before the Brahms. My main interest was in hearing the Takemitsu piece ("A bird came down the walk"). It was interesting and enjoyable, but I was really knocked out by the Bliss sonata. Lush and murky.
"Animental/Oriental" (Barbara Schauwecker, Chiara Giovando, and Hanna Fushihara), Tarantula Hill, Baltimore... half-movement/drama and half-noise... The contrasts between the viola recital, (plus its context and location) to that of the latter show couldn't have been more different. Tarantula Hill is converted commercial space residence, like a loft. The buildings all around are 2 story, and the surrounding blocks looked pretty grim (esp. on a Sunday night).
So the show was held in a space on the 2nd floor that reminded me of an unfinished living room. I kept peering through a window, trying to catch a glimpse of my car parked below. I was worried that it would get broken into, again.

18 Nov - Susan Fancher and Mark Engebretson (saxophones), UMBC, Baltimore County... Since I don't listen to the likes of Kenny G, I associate the sax with avant garde jazz and improv. Lotta screeches and honks abound. In this concert, there was some of that, but also plenty of smooth tones. It was nice to hear melifluous contemporary music for sax.

20 Nov - Trio Tarana (Ravish Momin -perc.; Jason Hwang -violin; Shanir Blumenkranz -oud, bass), Sangha Cafe, Takoma Park, Maryland... The pieces are composed by Ravish and developed from Asian sources (Indian, Japanese, etc.)... Ravish's rhythms are the most striking thing about the music. That's only natural, because he wrote the pieces.

27 Nov - fell asleep listening to the radio... Judge Wallace Tashima (U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal) gave a speech at a conference, earlier this month, on the Supreme Court cases challenging JA internment. Tashima's speech was broadcast on CSPAN's "America and the Courts" segment. I'm afraid his speaking style was hesitant and plodding. I was already pretty tired and had drank a little wine, so listening to him put me under quickly.

18 Dec - "Pop Joins the World", Radio Japan (shortwave: 6.120 Mhz)... The highlight was an interview of jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita featuring excerpts from his latest release, "Pacific Crossing". The interviewer, Melinda Hall, tried to get Yamashita to discuss the relations between Japanese jazz and American jazz, and Japanese traditional music and jazz. He didn't say much, or rather, his responses were not very insightful. Perhaps he would've had more to say if the interview had been in Japanese.


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