"A subtly sweet and highly fragrant musical blend"
Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble + Jodi Proxnick Trio
Featuring Jodi Proznick Trio: Jodi Proznick bass ♦ Bill Coon guitar ♦ James Danderfer clarinet/bass clarinet Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble Jirong Huang erhu ♦ Zhongxi Wu suona ♦ Sarah Yusha Tan guzheng
Guest artist: Liam Macdonald percussion
In the 1920s, jazz was alive and swinging in the cabarets and nightclubs of Shanghai where American big band sounds melded with Chinese folk melodies. The love of jazz and a mutual interest in the melding of musical languages led to the first presentation of Jasmine Jazz in Vancouver in 2014 featuring Jirong Huang on erhu, Sarah Yusha Tan on guzheng and Zhongxi Wu on sheng and suona with Arnt Arntzen on banjo and vocals, Jodi Proznick on bass and Bruce Henczel on percussion.
Since then, the Ensemble return again and again to this unusual and exquisite interplay between traditional Chinese and jazz instruments. And each time, the music has grown in depth and scope.
Jasmine Jazz No. 5 features three musicians from the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble with some of the city’s finest jazz musicians and composers: Jodi Proznick on bass, Bill Coon on guitar and James Danderfer on clarinets.
Jasmine Jazz is about musical conversations, an east meets west experience, full of beauty, harmony and mutual respect. The repertoire is a beautiful mix of songs pulled from jazz and traditional Chinese folk music and original composition by members of the ensemble. It is with pleasure we present to you the first recording of Jasmine Jazz on planet Earth.
Little Sunflower 7:26
Jasmine Flower 5:44
On and On 4:28
Moon Represents My Heart 4:38
Autumn Leaves 7:54
Ye Shanghai 2:55
Producer: Jodi ProznickRecording Engineer: Sheldon Zaharko/ Zed ProductionsMastering: Chris GestrinArtwork: John Endo Greenaway/ BigWaveDesignPhotography: Michele Mateus
Transplanted Purple Bamboo
"… a torrid performance of considerable virtuosity.”
— The Georgia Straight
The Vancouver Chinese Instrumental Music Society released its first CD, Transplanted Purple Bamboo, in 2000. The selections on this recording include new arrangements of traditional Chinese folk music (A Song from Mongolia, Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon and Tea Harvest Dance), original compositions (A Song From A Far Away Place, In the Bamboo Village, Rebirth of the Lovers, The Dream of Yesterday, Music for RCMP and Transplanted Purple Bamboo) and an arrangement of Canadian folk tunes (A Suite of Canadian Folk Songs) – all performed on traditional Chinese instruments, some accompanied by Western instruments.
Ensemble members include Ji Rong Huang on erhu (Chinese violin), Yong Sun on dizi (Chinese flute), Vivian Xia on yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), Zhi Min Yu on ruan (Chinese guitar), Ling Yang on pipa (Chinese lute) and Mei Han on zheng (Chinese harp). They are joined by Angela Wang on pipa and vocals, Salvador Ferreras on percussion, Heidi Krutzen on harp, Sandy Fiddes and Antonio Bernel on violin, and Laurence Mollerup on bass.
The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble embraces the popular and classical traditions of China as well as western classical and contemporary music performed on Chinese instruments. Each member is a highly accomplished instrumentalist. Together they combine technical mastery with a passionate approach to music.
1 A Song From A Far Away Place 6:46
2 A Song from Mongolia 7:32
3 Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon 5:01
4 A Suite of Canadian Folk Songs 7:20
5 In the Bamboo Village 4:24
6 Rebirth of the Lovers 13:51
7 The Dream of Yesterday 2:20
8 Tea Harvest Dance 3:25
9 Music for the RCMP 4:01
10 Transplanted Purple Bamboo 4:06
Total Time 58:46
A Song From A Far Away Place
A Song From A Far Away Place
This piece, featuring Dizi, the Chinese bamboo flute, was written in Vancouver to express the composer’s thoughts of his home country China and the love for his new home. The introduction features a folk tune from North China. The slow section is in a Chinese folk style. The Allegro combines traditional Chinese music with some modern rhythms, followed by the Canadian folk song John Kanaka with the chirping of birds imitated on a small bamboo flute. The fast ending demands virtuosic playing.
A Song from Mongolia
This arrangement of a Mongolian folk song is in the pentatonic Yu mode. The music depicts the natural beauty of Mongolia and the bustling excitement of a horse racing festival.
Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon
Traditional Cantonese, arranged by Ji Rong Huang
This piece has been well-known since 1935, not only as an ensemble piece, but also as a popular song with lyrics. It is full of Cantonese charm and depicts a beautiful moonlit night.
A Suite of Canadian Folk Songs
Arranged by Ji Rong Huang
This suite is a medley of three classic folk songs — She’s Like the Swallow, Nova Scotia Song and La Bastringue — and Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain arranged for Chinese instruments.
In the Bamboo Village
The composer was inspired by seeing people hurrying along trails to the country market and to festivals in the mountain area of the Yun Nan province of China. The unique style of this piece reflects the folk music of the region.
Rebirth of the Lovers
Ji Rong Huang
The erhu soloist has been deeply impressed by the scenery and atmosphere of Vancouver. He composed this piece using folk and opera melodies of Zhejiang province, mixed with some Western contemporary styles. Recalling ancient Chinese tragic love stories, he imagined that the rebirth of the lovers should take place in Canada, where they would enjoy freedom and democracy. The final section of this piece is a mixed melody of Zhejiang and Canadian folk music.
The Dream of Yesterday
Rui Shi Zhuo
Twenty years ago the composer went to Tibet to collect folk songs. A beautiful scene has been in his memory ever since: under the sunshine, he saw many young Tibetan men and women in a line or a circle on the grassland, singing, dancing and drinking, accompanied by folk instruments. Deeply touched by the genuine beauty of Tibetan music, he composed this piece.
Tea Harvest Dance
Arranged by Yong Sun
Tea Harvest Dance is based on a folk tune popular in the Zhejiang province of China. Typical of the Zhejiang style, the melody is delightfully smooth and flowing. This arrangement enables the musicians to display the character of their instruments in a folk idiom.
Music for RCMP
Ji Rong Huang
Music for RCMP is a quirky musical tribute to the composer’s adopted country, featuring the clip-clop of horses’ hooves on pavement, a series of variations on The Maple Leaf Forever and snatches of O Canada. The siren of a police car and the whinnying of a horse signal the successful capture of criminals. Quintessentially Canadian experiences are expressed through the Erhu.
Transplanted Purple Bamboo
Ji Rong Huang
This is a new variation of the old melody Purple Bamboo, which is very popular in the Shanghai area. The style is a mix of Shanghai and North America with hints of Blues and Country rhythms.
“There is nothing earnest or dogmatic in any of this music. The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble plays with passion and the insight of those who know how to perform for an audience. Their music forms an integral part of the new Canada, and the next chapter for contemporary classical music here, even as the result of the development of these instruments ripples out into the world and by consequence, back to the country of their origin.”
– Jon Siddall
The release of our first contemporary Chinese music album: New Frontiers is the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble’s second recording. This cd feature works by five Canadian composers, two whom were born in Canada and three who were born and raised in China before immigrating to Canada. Performed on both contemporary and traditional Asian and Western instruments, New Frontiers is an innovative collection of new sounds, improvisation and technical mastery.
The New Frontiers CD includes Goldfish by Mark Armanini, Sinewave by Janet Danielson, Courage by Ji Rong Huang, Awakening by Jin Zhang, and Gu and Ling by Rui Shi Zhuo, performed by the Ensemble featuring Ji Rong Huang on erhu (Chinese violin), Yong Sun on dizi (Chinese flute), Vivian Xia on yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer), Zhi Min Yu on ruan (Chinese guitar), Angela Wang on pipa (Chinese lute) & vocals, Gui Lian Liu on pipa and Wei Li on zheng (Chinese harp). Guest percussionist, Bruce Henczel, is featured on Huang’s Courage and Zhuo’s Ling and Uzume Taiko’s Bonnie Soon and Boyd Seiichi Grealy performed on Japanese drums on Zhang’s Awakening.
Rui Shi Zhuo Compositions
Five major works from Rui Shi Zhuo who is an emerging composer that has found his own path to express traditional Chinese music through contemporary western forms.
“Dynamic, eclectic, energetic, and percussive all describe the overall feel of this music.”
– Annette Sanger, Wholenote
1. Dao Ban
3-5. String Quartet
6. Variations on G