Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Jazz Festival: William Yu & Tanya Li, Greg Malcolm

Jazz Festival Review: William Yu & Tanya Li, Greg Malcolm


Review by Kate Kennedy

William Yu & Tanya Li
Greg Malcolm
The Frontroom
November 9

William Yu & Tanya
Li
Click to enlarge

William Yu & Tanya Li

William Yu & Tanya Li

Talk about muscle memory – what a master of movement! William Yu plays the Chinese Dulcimer: it’s like a piano in the fact that it’s a stringed percussive instrument, but it has more sustain and more control because he is directly beating the strings rather than using the hammers like a piano. Using his fingers, hands and beaters he weaves his incredible magic over this wonderful instrument.

The Erhu is a violin-type instrument that sits on Tanya’s lap and bowed across her body – essentially like a mini cello. The Dulcimer is hammered and the Erhu is bowed, however they are both plucked and used to their infinite ability. In fact Tanya really made the Erhu sound like a voice. She made it laugh, cry, dance, sing, play space invaders and tune into the aliens using rhythmical comedy. William is a perfect accompanist to Tanya and they complement and play together as if they were always supposed to

Is so classically Asian but I can hear lots of styles of music, from Jazz to Irish jigs - Asian Fusion at its best! In fact I keep thinking I can hear a tune start and then its something completely different. They are very unpredictable – always moving into different ideas.

Honestly Tanya really makes the Erhu sing. With a wind/brass instrument you have a lot of control with your mouth and air supply, but with this string instrument it seems a physical part of her even though it’s external and not related to her vocals in any way! You can hear the emotion, turmoil and history penetrating your senses. The Epic landscape of sounds visually conjures up the green pastures and mountains of home.

The dulcimer is hard to keep in tune so there were lots of short interludes. It is a pleasure to see him take such care over his intonation and really show you the level of both their musicianship. To get it in tune is so worth it because he is not far short of brilliant! He has such precision, power, versatility and control over the dynamics and effects. There are many reoccurring themes which create this hauntingly beautiful music, and you can feel the emotion grasping you.

This is no kitsch Chinese restaurant getup folks - this is the real deal!

Lots of wow factor and plenty of comedy to boot – overall an extremely well finished performance that I felt very honoured to see.


Greg Malcolm
Click to enlarge

Greg Malcolm

Greg Malcolm

SPRINGTASTIC, STRINGSATIONAL performance from Greg this evening with lashings of comedy on top.

Malcom was playing some tunes written by Steve Lacy. Steve Lacy – born in1934 – wrote Dixieland tunes and ended up playing with Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk.. The first song is called ‘prayer’ and is dedicated to Lacy who died in 2004.

Malcom is very much like an artist/percussionist I know of called Dave Hassell. But Dave plays the drums and Greg plays 3 guitars like he’s playing the drums! Yes, 3 guitars at once. He has 2 on his feet and one on his lap with slinkys hanging off the neck and a minefield of pickups all over! When he walks away from his guitars and starts flicking elastic bands at them with the effect of bombing them – it is highly amusing. Elastic Fantastic indeed! Elastic bands were used in bizarre ways – even put a couple over his face and head to create almost a disfigurement. Which is what I think he is doing with the music – disfiguring it – which is where the Monk influences, the contentious issue of Monk and whether or not he was a genius (of course he was!), come in.

Malcom uses everyday objects like ‘slinkys’, a ‘steelo’, a camera, a knife, a ruler, as well as his feet and arms, to make a very unique style; harmonic heaven with songs called ‘Bones’, ‘Meltronics’, ‘Life on its way’… It is experimental brilliance. Probably not the best music to air on the radio, unless you have seen him live and know how he’s making the rhythm and melody. Visually awesome a real performer!

He says ‘it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that spring’. A highly comical character!

Reminded me of a mixture of Tommy Emmanuel (Aus)/Dave Hassell (UK)/Dudley Moore (UK).


Kate Kennedy, International Musician.


********

Wellington International Jazz festival homepage: www.jazzfestival.co.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Fatuous Defence: Australia’s Guided Missile Plans

Even in times of pandemic crises, some things never change. While Australia gurgles and bumbles slowly with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, there are other priorities at stake. Threat inflators are receiving much interest in defence, and the media ... More>>

Richard S. Ehrlich: Cambodia's Hun Sen Feels Politically Vaccinated

BANGKOK, Thailand -- When Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen received his AstraZeneca vaccination shot, he suddenly felt invulnerable and vowed to rule indefinitely. Hun Sen is already one of the world's longest ruling prime ministers, confident his successor ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: My Final Column?

I’m dying. It’s not easy to write these words. But it’s true. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brawling Over Vaccines: Export Bans And The EU’s Bungled Rollout
The European Union has been keeping up appearances in encouraging the equitable distribution of vaccines to combat SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19. Numerous statements speak to the need to back the COVAX scheme, to ensure equity and that no one state misses out... More>>

Jennifer S. Hunt: Trump Evades Conviction Again As Republicans Opt For Self-Preservation

By Jennifer S. Hunt Lecturer in Security Studies, Australian National University Twice-impeached former US President Donald Trump has evaded conviction once more. On the fourth day of the impeachment trial, the Senate verdict is in . Voting guilty: ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Let The Investigation Begin: The International Criminal Court, Israel And The Palestinian Territories

International tribunals tend to be praised, in principle, by those they avoid investigating. Once interest shifts to those parties, such bodies become the subject of accusations: bias, politicisation, crude arbitrariness. The United States, whose legal and political ... More>>