Leo Rec. 4tet : Different Song (CH/CN,2012)***'
-Yang Jung, Michel Wintsch, Baenz Oester, Norbert Pfammatter-
Pipa (and guqin) player Yang Jin spent 12 years in China’s National Orchestra of Traditional Music, then studied with Japanese composer Minoru Miki. She also started to work with improvised music musicians, like percussionist Pierre Favre (a talented percussionist whom I have praised before for his work with Italian experimental singer Tamia-), Max Roach and Israeli based saxophonist Arnie Laurence.
This is a new meeting point with three Swiss jazz musicians who are relying on each other’s skills to adapt to different tunes and for the improvisational developments. Yang Yin says it is very much about listening to others, about creating space, and developing constructive movements. The advantage of improvised music (with a free music tension) is that listening is indeed more important than ever, where the range in which the instruments are used in that way are able to become a bit wider as usual, where also the upper edges of the strings can be used, as well as the rhythmical qualities of the very physical body of the instrument and the strings. And, while every body has their experience in their own traditions, for the Swiss musicians in jazz, with their tonal and melodic approach still being recognisably jazz-flavoured, to the improvised core itself, even there sometimes a structural fall-back upon themes occurs, which gives an advantage during a listening process to have a couple of returning musical themes to work with. During the spontaneous rhythmical pulsations of evolutions, also the sonic listening process is used to explore with.
The percussion more often uses brushes, for the first track in one flow of sliding brushes; this allows some Chinese variations of string tensions to lead the evolution further, while also the other musicians use their own version of rubbed sound accentuations. On the more melodic jazz tunes the rhythms are used in a more repetitive way with moody improvisations on pipa or on piano.
There's also one track in which Yang Jin plays completely in a jazz-way, playing the composed tune moodily in this way.
A well-prepared, successful concert-like performance with variations of several musical themes.