Jazz has traveled the world and I had definitely planned to check some out when I was in Taipei. I had invites to hang at the various clubs in town, but ended up too weirdly jet-lagged to partake of any nightlife (25 sleepless hours of travel will do that…). But I had heard about Sizhukong, a jazz ensemble featuring two Berklee grads, Yuwen Peng on keyboards, and Toshi Fujii, who plays bass here in my video, but who usually plays the drums.

I was able to make a daytime appointment and went to see them during one of their rehearsals. I found the combination of traditional Chinese instruments and jazz sensibilities to be surprisingly successful, thanks to thoughtful arrangements and good material.
A quick note: Yuwen Peng was born and raised in Taiwan, and returned there after graduation from Berklee with a mission to create a jazz with Taiwanese character. The composition “I Remember Formosa” was written while she was at Berklee. It’s easy to imagine her recalling the modalities she was raised with to write the piece, and it’s lovely to hear it now, arranged for Erhu (violin), Dizi (flute) and Ruan (lute).

Post a Comment


Here’s where you’ll find my weekly original world music video blogs that appear on Huffington Post, as well as an archive starting in April of 2009.

This is also the place where you will find video that is exclusive to my site. I’ve traveled to places like Uzbekistan, Morocco, and Taiwan and no matter where I go I have found amazingly talented and creative people working in every genre from the deepest traditions to the cutting edge.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to interview them and to capture some of what they do on video. Enjoy what you see and hear, and let me know what you think. I welcome your feedback.