Two Flowers On a Stem
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Pianist/composer Jon Jang has long created music that combines advanced jazz with aspects of his Chinese heritage. For this superb disc of inside/outside music, Jang utilizes a sextet also featuring the remarkable flutist James Newton, David Murray on tenor and bass clarinet, bassist Santi Debriano, drummer Billy Hart, and Chen Jiebing on a haunting cello-like instrument called the erhu. Strong passionate melodies give way to straight-ahead jamming, free sections, and other themes. As with Charles Mingus (one of his influences), Jang's pieces are sometimes quite political, and his music often unfolds like an episodic suite. Performing Mingus' "Meditations on Integration," four Jang originals, and "Butterfly Lovers Song," the sextet's many colorful voices somehow blend together as one in service to the consistently powerful music. This highly recommended set deserves and rewards repeated listenings.