The JazzArt concert series got off to a fantastic start with a packed house enjoying two sets of Lawrence Ku’s original music on this past Sunday. His group of seven musicians featured the cream of the crop on the Shanghai jazz scene, nearly all of whom are also faculty at the JZ school — including EJ Parker, Alec Haavik, Andy Hunter, Chris Trzcinski, the author of this post, Lawrence himself, as well as the amazing Beijing-based pianist XiaJia. The concert was held at the TwoCities art gallery on Moganshan Lu, and was a perfect room for the band to play in. It’s just the right size for that kind of ensemble, because there was no need to use microphones at all. In fact the only amplification used was for the bass and guitar, and it was minimal.
The gallery had a gorgeous ceramics exhibition happening at the time, so during the break, before and after the concert, everyone had a chance to enjoy some cool modern art that fit the cool modern music closely. Unfortunately there was one guy who thought the patterned square tiles exhibited against white sand on the floor were floor tiles. Please folks, at the next concert do your best to refrain from stepping on the art.
The audience was super as well, the packed-full room engrossed in Lawrence’s extended compositions for two entire sets with minimal noise or conversation. It was an exquisite feeling actually, something that we have not enjoyed as a musician for a long time; it certainly inspired all the musicians to play even more superbly than usual.
The group has a rare month this May, because normally it doesn’t get to perform more than once every couple months (if that). This month however, the group has at least four shows. The septet played at the Shanghai Jazz Fest, this concert, then the group’s CD release concert/party at JZ on Thursday the 24th, and the Beijing Jazz Festival a couple days later. If you miss all these chances to hear the group, at least you will be able to buy the CD, entitled Process, at JZ Club (or directly from Lawrence) after the 24th.
The next concert in the series will feature the Steve Sweeting Trio, which is Steve on piano, Scott Dodd on bass, and Ronnie Williams on drums. Every concert is held on the afternoon of the second Sunday of each month, so the next one will be on June 10 at 3pm. Almost every concert is held at a different art gallery, so the next one will be at Number D, a gallery next to Suzhou Creek. The exception is another concert at TwoCities — because they were the original gallery to feature jazz (the TwoCities in Tune concert series) and also just because it’s a great room for jazz. They have a piano, and quite a nice one at that, so it makes the space even more attractive from a musical standpoint. So we hope to see you at some or all of the upcoming shows!
Cross-posted at shanghaijazzscene.com.
Photo by Cecile Renault Copyright, 2007.