Music Review: Hua Acid Live

Posted: December 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Kev's Music Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I love finding exciting new Jazz music creators.  I love them even more when they are doing it in China! Case in point: Hua Acid Live.

These guys just formed at the beginning of 2009, and they””ve hit the city of Beijing hard with their vicious rhythms and hypnotic tunes.  Being promoted by local media as the Only Acid & Funk group in Beijing, Hua Acid Live (or just known as Acid Live) are true to form with hard-hitting Acid Jazz mixed with Funk and House beats.  The band has been busy this inaugural year building an active local following and strutting their stuff at all the hottest live music venues in town.

The band says it is a melting pot for cultures and musical styles with the sole purpose of making good music.  This can best be seen by the groups”” eclectic roster: classical-pianist-turned-funk-keyboardist Zhang Zhang, UK expat Chris Cook AKA DJ Shiva spinning Electro and House music, guitarist Fei Jia and bassist Liu Yang.  Acid Live is joined regularly by other accomplished and diverse musicians such as Irish vocalist Anne Marie, American rapper Kor-E, Hip Hop group In3””er, and Chinese guzheng player Zhang Wei.

While the music Hua Acid Live plays is not ground-breakingly new, it is important to note that the high calibre with which they are playing this kind of fusion, is being played in China.  I have great excitement and high anticipation when I think about the scores of Chinese music patrons who will be exposed to this kind of music for the first time.  And I have even greater anticipation thinking and hoping for Hua Acid Live to record their first album! During their live performances that I have attended, they have mostly played standards that can be recognized by the audience — namely mainstream jazz-funk-soul songs for a still-maturing listenership. But Acid Live has played a few original songs as well.  Especially when they are mixing musical styles like with DJ Shiva, or one of the musical guests, you really get a sense of their potential in creating fresh, unique music that hails from Beijing but is made for a global audience.

Of course, there are many, many great unique musical groups that have put Beijing and contemporary Chinese music on the map, like PK-14, D-22, and Carsick Cars. But Hua Acid Live is really the first real Chinese foray into Acid Jazz+.  I hope but the first!

You can read some more reviews about Hua Acid Live at MySpaceTheBeijinger and CityWeekend 1, CityWeekend 2.

You can also see their MySpace page (music streaming) or their YouKu page (live performance videos)

Or just watch them now!

Hua Acid Live (electro)

Hua Acid Live w/ Kor-E

Hua Acid Live (soulful)

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Music Explorers: My selected jazz playlists

Posted: December 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Kev's Music Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I continually have friends who ask me to either give them my music or give them a list of jazz artists I recommend they listen to.  I want to do them one better by posting it here as reference to all.

As a jazz enthusiast and advocate, I love to introduce new people to the depth and breadth that is the jazz repertoire, especially contemporary jazz and how we are moving forward today. So as a favour to my friends and fellow listeners, here are a few lists, separated by broad genres/styles of jazz to help the music explorer in all of us.

The case for exploring by artist and not by song:

These lists consist of names of musicians/artists.  Far better than recommending individual songs, I feel exploring an artist, their story, their perspective, and their contribution to the jazz genre is more fulfilling and gives a better picture of the jazz world. Jazz, as with many other things in this world, is much more about the people than it is only just about the music.  If you read the life stories, you”ll learn that jazz is a way of life, a way of thinking, a philosophy, a state of being, that is espoused by the music.

The case for listening to entire albums:

I also recommend when learning about each musician, to listen to each album in its entirety.  In the age of iTunes and buying each song piecemeal, I still strongly support buying/downloading an entire album and listening to it straight through.  I feel this is important to better comprehend the larger message the artist is trying to communicate.  One song may not be able to completely express the full extent of thoughts and feelings the artist puts forward in a whole album.  Also paying attention to the ordering of songs within an album is important.  This sets the highs and lows, the changes in rhythm, dynamics and interplay between each song.  While song ordering may be done by a studio producer, it is safe to say the spirit of the artist is in this process, if not the final approval.  Taking an album in its entirety becomes even more important if the artist is also the songwriter. Because the words and thoughts expressed are written by the artist”s own hand, a really talented musician may be writing for a complete album in mind.  If the musician is merely just a performer of other people”s songs, then ordering and album entirety may not be as important.  But the wonderful thing about Jazz is that more often than not you”re listening to true artists/musicians. People that not only want to show their performance prowess but also want to share the unique music itself.

So give the artists some respect, and spend time with the whole album.

That being said, here are some select lists to help get young jazz listeners started!

Modern Jazz (Some of the best individuals that form the foundation of jazz)

  • Art Blakey
  • Benny Goodman
  • Bill Evans
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bobby McFerrin
  • Cannonball Adderley
  • Charles Mingus
  • Charlie Parker
  • Chet Baker
  • Clifford Brown
  • Coleman Hawkins
  • Count Basie
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Dexter Gordon
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Duke Ellington
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • George Kawaguchi
  • Gerry Mulligan
  • Gil Evans
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Ike Quebec
  • John Coltrane
  • Karashima Fumio
  • Lester Young
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Miles Davis
  • Milt Jackson
  • Modern Jazz Quartet
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Ron Carter
  • Sonny Rollins
  • Sonny Stitt
  • Stan Getz
  • Sunao Wada
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Wayne Shorter

Contemp Jazz (People who for me, lead today”s Jazz)

  • The Bad Plus
  • Brad Mehldau
  • Branford Marsalis
  • Brian Blade
  • Brian Bromberg
  • Cassandra Wilson
  • Chick Corea
  • Chris Potter
  • Christian Scott
  • Dave Holland
  • Don Byron
  • Elizabeth Shepherd
  • Esbjorn Svensson
  • Esperanza Spalding
  • Gary Burton
  • George Benson
  • The Gotan Project
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Hiromi Uehara
  • James Carter
  • Jazztronik
  • Jimi Tenor
  • John McLaughlin
  • John Scofield
  • Jonathan Batiste
  • Joshua Redman
  • Julian Lage
  • Keiko Matsui
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Kenny Garrett
  • Kevin Yost
  • Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Marcus Miller
  • Maynard Ferguson
  • Medeski, Martin & Wood
  • Michael Brecker
  • Mike Stern
  • Nujabes
  • Pat Metheny
  • Paul Motian
  • Robert Glasper
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Soulive
  • Stefon Harris
  • Terence Blanchard
  • Wynton Marsalis

”Nu Jazz Funk” (Urban, R&B, Hip Hop- influenced Jazz)

  • Bugz In The Attic
  • Christian Scott
  • Courtney Pine
  • Elizabeth Shephard
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Jazzanova
  • Jazztronik
  • Jimi Tenor
  • Kevin Yost
  • Madlib
  • Marc Moulin
  • Marcus Miller
  • Martin Taylor
  • Nujabes
  • Pat Metheny
  • The RH Factor
  • Robert Glasper
  • Roy Hargrove
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Soil & Pimp Sessions
  • Soulive
  • St Germain
  • Stefon Harris
  • 4 Hero

”Electro-Jazz Groove” (Jazz that lives squarely in the electronic environment)

  • The Cool Balance
  • Courtney Pine
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Jazzanova
  • Kevin Yost
  • Kyoto Jazz Massive
  • Madlib
  • Nuspirit Helsinki
  • Patchworks
  • 4 Hero
  • St Germain
  • Jazztronik
  • Bugz In The Attic
  • Nujabes

Disclaimers:

  1. These lists are merely my own selection. It is not an exhaustive list, just me recommendations within each broad genre.
  2. My taste in music reflects my own background. I have not included lists on Jazz-Rock, Latin-Jazz etc. because I do not spend enough time with those genres.
  3. I by all means welcome suggestions! We are all music explorers here. If there is an artist that you think I”d like, please feel free to send me a response!

Enjoy everyone, and happy listening!

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