Lijiang Quintet – “Crossing A River By Rope” (fo’c’sle, 2018)

“Crossing A River By Rope” was released by “fo’c’sle” label on 2018. Album was recorded by “Lijiang Quintet” in China. “Lijiang Quintet” is formed from five musicians – it’s Theresa Wong (cello and voice), Lao Dan (saxophone and bamboo instruments), John McCowen (clarinet and recorder), Li Xing (electric and acoustic guitar) and Deng Boyu (percussion and found objects). All five musicians are creative and original. Their music is based on ethnic Chinese music and free improvisation. Musicians gently fuse together authentic melodies, rhythms and intonations of China music, make exotic combos and interesting stylistic turns. Each musician has its own sound – it’s based on expressive playing manner, colorful background, rich musical pattern and spontaneous musical decisions. The genuine synthesis of avant-garde jazz, American and European experimental jazz traditions, free improvisation, Asian music and ethnic music of China makes splendid, bright and original sound of quintet’s collective improvisations or solo excerpts.

“Crossing A River By Rope” is another one great result of “Lijiang Quintet”. Album has rich, bright, dynamic and passionate sound. Precise and impressive playing technique, soft and expressive sound, active mood, exotic combos, tremendous solos and inventive musical decisions certainly make the main base of these compositions. The music is bright, energetic and vital – it’s changing and twisting from the one mood to another. The musical pattern is rich and vivid – it has many layers, universal kit of instrumentation, extended techniques, colorful expressions and sparkling special effects. Huge stylistic varietyalso makes an effort to whole album. Avant-garde jazz is the main style of album – it contains the base of each composition. Free improvisation, creative and experimental jazz are connected with bebop, post bop and hard bop, and other mild intonations of modern jazz styles. The most interesting is, that this music is connecting much more than various jazz styles. The cultures of Asia and Europe, American and Scandinavian avant-garde jazz, modernism of contemporary academical music of Western Europe are joined with traditional Chinese music and its intonations. The musicians gently and organically form the main melodic line and rhythmic section. They make them contrasting and contraversal to each other – each section is splendid and expressive has its own character and mood. The melodic section is formed from independent melodies. It has specific harmony – sharp dissonances are brought together with exotic, moving and interesting tunes of Chinese music harmony and its traditions. The rhythmic section is a result of static beats, hard core, colorful ornaments, free and turbulent improvisations with Asian music traditional rhythms and percussion timbres. Lao Dan and John McCowen keep the reeds section – duo gently fits together bamboo, saxophone, clarinet and recorder . Soft sounds, relaxing mood, gentle and light solos are against bright, trembling and roaring blow outs, aggressive and vivid riffs, remarkable melodies and dozens of strange timbres. Musicians manage to get together sensible and fragile recorder’s and bamboo’s sounds all together with avant-garde jazz basics – moving, tremendous and passionate saxophone and clarinet. String section is leaded by Theresa Wong (cello, voice) and Li Xing (electric and acoustic guitar). Electric and vibrant solos of guitars are filled with scandalous and vibrant mood. Electric guitar has strict riffs, many episodes with hard core or static beat – its sound is vibtant, electric, heavy and deep. Acoustic guitar is gentle and colorful – there are many flowing melodies, remarkable solos, sweet pizzicatto, gorgeous timbres, expressive and dizzy passages and other elements. Cello keeps the main bass line – it’s formed from repetitive tunes, who make solid line and harmonic pattern. Cello melodies are passionate, expressive and gentle –  it has soft, moving and trembling sound, effective playing manner and gorgeous timbres. Voice improvisations also organically fit together – it adds more expression, passion and affection to the compositions. Drums and percussion section is gorgeous and exotic – it’s created by Deng Boyu. Scandalous rolls, sparkling riffs, trembling and aggressive storms of rhythms, passages, bright and moving bursts, tremendous and turbulent energy’s explosions who go straight to subtle silence, peaceful and relaxing mood or abstract and fantastic musical experiments. All musicians of the quintet are playing impressive. They are expanding the abilities of their instruments and are dedicated to search moving, attractive, innovative and extraordinary ways of playing, timbres or simply crazy musical ideas. The music has modern and touching sound.

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