Leo Records releases pipa album with Yang Jing
|One of the more striking recent developments in improvised music has been the entry of several musicians trained in Chinese traditional music. Yang Jing, for example, spent twelve years in China’s National Orchestra of Traditional Music, but since settling in Switzerland, this pipa player has collaborated more and more frequently with Western improvisers. She has now recorded a series of duets with the Irish émigré guitarist Christy Doran. The results are stunning, perhaps because Doran is as inspired by electric blues as jazz and free improvisation and there’s a special affinity based on pentatonic scales.
The rhythmic force and string bends that Yang Jing brings to her Salü Abend can suggest roots in the Mississippi Delta, while Doran infers multiple musical languages in the shifting tracery that he applies to Yang’s melody on Birnenblüten. The results are so lyrical that one might forget there’s anything the least bit unusual or strange about the collaboration or the spatial and temporal distances that usually separate the instruments. —Stuart Broomer