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Shyu, Jen & Jade Tongue

Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses

Shyu, Jen & Jade Tongue: Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses (Pi Recordings)

An articulate and important collection of songs devoted to the marginalized voices of women around the world from NY vocalist Jen Shyu, performed in a masterful quintet with Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mat Maneri on viola, Thomas Morgan on bass, Dan Weiss on drums, Shyu singing and performing on percussion, piano, Taiwanese moon lute, and Japanese biwa.
 

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product information:


UPC: 808713008821

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: Pi 88
Squidco Product Code: 30287

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels w/ booklet
Recorded at Oktaven Audio, in Mount Vernon, New york, on January 11th, 2019, and August 11th and 12th, 2020, by Ryan Streber.


Personnel:

Jen Shyu-composition, vocals, percussion, piano, Taiwanese moon lute, Japanese biwa

Ambrose Akinmusire-trumpet

Mat Maneri-viola

Thomas Morgan-bass

Dan Weiss-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Jen Shyu ("Shyu" pronounced "Shoe" in English, Chinese name: 徐秋雁, Pinyin: Xúqiūyàn) is a groundbreaking, multilingual vocalist, composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, 2016 Doris Duke Artist, and was voted 2017 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Female Vocalist. Born in Peoria, Illinois, to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, Shyu is widely regarded for her virtuosic singing and riveting stage presence, carving out her own beyond-category space in the art world. She has performed with saxophonist and 2014 MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman since 2003 and has collaborated with such musical innovators as Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek and David Binney. Shyu has performed her own music on prestigious world stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Ringling International Arts Festival, Asia Society, Roulette, Blue Note, Bimhuis, Salihara Theater, National Gugak Center, National Theater of Korea and at festivals worldwide.

A Stanford University graduate in opera with classical violin and ballet training, Shyu had already won many piano competitions and performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto (3rd mvmt.) with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra by the age of 13. She has studied traditional music and dance in Cuba, Taiwan, Brazil, China, South Korea, East Timor and Indonesia, conducting extensive research which culminated in her 2014 stage production Solo Rites: Seven Breaths, directed by renowned Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho. Shyu has won commissions and support from Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works, New Music USA, Jazz Gallery, and Roulette, as well as fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism.

Shyu has produced seven albums as a leader, including the first female-led and vocalist-led album Pi Recordings has released, Synastry (Pi 2011), with co-bandleader and bassist Mark Dresser. Her critically acclaimed Sounds and Cries of the World (Pi 2015) landed on many best-of-2015 lists, including those of The New York Times, The Nation, and NPR. Her latest album Song of Silver Geese (Pi 2017) is receiving rave reviews and was also included on The New York Times' Best Albums of 2017.

Even with the acclaim she has received for her recordings, Shyu is just as renowned for her dynamic performances. Ben Ratliff wrote in The New York Times that her concerts are "the most arresting performances I've seen over the past five years. It's not just the meticulous preparation of the work and the range of its reference, but its flexibility: She seems open, instinctual, almost fearless." Her duo performance with Tyshawn Sorey was among The New York Times' Best Live Jazz Performances of 2017. Larry Blumenfeld wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "her voice, a wonder of technical control and unrestrained emotion, tells a story dotted with well-researched facts and wild poetic allusions. She claims both as her truths."

Currently based in New York City, Shyu premiered her latest solo work Nine Doors at National Sawdust June 29, 2017, kicking off a 50-state U.S. tour of "Songs of Our World Now / Songs Everyone Writes Now (SOWN/SEWN)," planting seeds of creativity and threading communities together through art."

-Jen Shyu Website (http://www.jenshyu.com/bio.html)
9/22/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee) was a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble when he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire was asked to join Coleman's Five Elements, embarking on a European tour when he was just a 19-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music. After returning to the West Coast to pursue a master's degree at the University of Southern California, Akinmusire went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he studied with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.

In 2007 Akinmusire won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, decided by a panel of judges that included Blanchard, Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela, Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove. That year Akinmusire also won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and released his debut album Prelude...To Cora on the Fresh Sound label. He moved back to New York and began performing with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding and Jason Moran. It was also during this time that he first caught the attention of another discerning listener, Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records."

-Ambrose Akinmusire Website (http://www.ambroseakinmusire.com/biography)
9/22/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Mat Maneri was born in 1969, and started studying violin at age five. He studied privately with Julliard String Quartet founder Robert Koff, and with bass virutuoso Miroslav Vitous. Mat received a full scholarship as the principal violinist at Walnut Hill High School, but left school to pursue a professional career in music. By 1990, Mat founded the critically acclaimed Joe Maneri Quartet with Randy Peterson. Mat started releasing records as a leader in 1996, and has developed four working ensembles. Pianists Paul Bley, Cecil Taylor, Matthew Shipp, and Borah Bergman have called upon Matt to perform with them in such venues as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, and concert stages across Europe. Mat also enjoys a strong relationship with bassists Ed Schuller, Mark Dresser, William Parker, Michael Formanek, Barre Phillips, and John Lockwood. Never to be boxed in, Mat has also worked with Joe Morris, John Medeski, Tim Berne, Cecil McBee, T.K. Ramakrishnan, Franz Kogelman, Roy Campbell, Spring Heel Jack, Draze Hoops, and appears on an Illy B Eats remix CD. Mat presently teaches privately and through the New School / NYC, and performs and records worldwide."

-Aum Fidelity (http://www.aumfidelity.com/maneri.html)
9/22/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Thomas Morgan (born 14 August 1981 in Hayward, California) is an American jazz musician (upright bass, cello) in contemporary jazz.

Morgan began playing the cello 7 years of age, before switching to upright-bass at 14. In 2003 he received his bachelor's degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harvie Swartz and Garry Diall. He also took lessons with Ray Brown and Peter Herbert. Morgan worked with David Binney, Steve Coleman, Joey Baron, Josh Roseman, Brad Shepik, Steve Cardenas, Timućin ahin, Kenny Wollesen, Gerald Cleaver, Adam Rogers and Kenny Werner throughout his career. He is also cooperating with Jakob Bro, Dan Tepfer, Jim Black, John Abercrombie, Masabumi Kikuchi and the Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet. Morgan lead his own trio."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Morgan_(bassist))
9/22/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Shifting Foundation grantee Dan Weiss has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers in The New York Times, and his large ensemble recording "Fourteen" made the top ten list of their best recordings of 2014. Weiss's innovative drumming and forward thinking compositions have been pushing musical limits for years.

With his piano trio, he's released two recordings entitled, "Now Yes When" (2006) and "Timshel" (2011), which have been critically acclaimed for their unique approach to song structure and endless creative improvisation. Weiss also leads his sixteen piece large ensemble that features some of NYC's most gifted musicians. The two albums " Fourteen" (2014) and "Sixteen: Drummers Suite" (2016) released on the Pi record label have made numerous critic polls. His newest project features Craig Taborn, Matt Mitchell, Ben Monder, and Trevor Dunn and is an amalgam of jazz, metal, and new music. The recording will be released on the Pi record label in the Spring of 2018.

Weiss has been studying tabla under Pandit Samir Chatterjee for twenty years. He has performed with the legendary Ashish Khan and Ramesh Misra and recorded a solo tabla cd "3dcd" (2007). Weiss recorded two groundbreaking cds "Teental Drumset Solo" (2005) and "Jhaptal Drumset Solo" (2011) where he performs classical Indian repertoire on drum set.

Weiss was named 'The Top Up and Coming Percussionist' 2 years in a row in the 60th and 61st annual Downbeat's Critic's Poll and earned a spot in Modern Drummer's coveted Top 5 Jazz Drummers of 2014."

-Dan Weiss Website (https://www.danweiss.net/about-1/)
9/22/2021

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Living's A Gift - Part 1: Springtime 1:56

2. Living's A Gift - Part 2: Everything For Granted 1:23

3. Living's A Gift - Part 3: My Unresolved Regrets 3:20

4. Living's A Gift - Part 4: Joyful 2:30

5. Lament For Breonna Taylor 6:42

6. The Human Color 3:39

7. A Cure For The Heart's Longing 3:53

8. Body Of Tears 4:10

9. When I Have Power 4:14

10. Finally She Emerges 3:29

11. Display Of The Moon 9:08

12. Father Slipped Into Eternal Dream 6:44

13. With Eyes Closed You See All 4:51

14. Life As You Envision 4:17
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.
"Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses, the new work by sui generis vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu, is a collection of songs devoted to the marginalized voices of women around the world, and a profound elegy to personal loss. It follows Song of Silver Geese (Pi 2017), which The New York Times named one of the best albums of the year, and Downbeat called "spellbinding" and "rapturous." The album also features the return of Jade Tongue, an ensemble made up of musical innovators with whom Shyu has created music for over a decade. They last appeared on her groundbreaking and highly acclaimed 2015 Pi release Sounds and Cries of the World, which NPR called: "no drive-by encounter between musical cultures, no cherry picking of exotic licks. This is research and experience, absorbed and reimagined."Shyu's latest album is dedicated to her father, who passed away in April of 2019. It was shaping up to be another banner year: she was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim and United States Artist Fellowships, and - as she has done numerous times before in places such as Korea, Timor, Indonesia, and Taiwan - had set out for five months in Japan to immerse herself in the study of Japanese traditional music, its language, and biwa performance practices. It was shortly into her residency that she was informed of her father's unexpected death and so flew immediately to her parents' home in Texas. While helping her mother go through her father's possessions, Shyu came across her childhood diaries. Reading them helped transform Zero Grasses into a coming-of-age story about her ambitions, legacy, and personal reflections on the racism and sexism that she has faced throughout her life. The subsequent events of 2020 also made her reflect further on the ongoing racism in our society and life during a global pandemic.The music on Zero Grasses spans the full range from ancient to modern, referencing traditional Javanese music, Japanese "katari" (or speaking the song) that is sung with the biwa, East Timorese chant from Ataúro island, all derived from her 15-plus years of immersive fieldwork on languages and traditional musics of her own ancestry and other cultures. Her work is unique in its combination of languages and musical forms from these traditions, contemporary composition, jazz, improvised music, and dream-like narrative. It's an innovative architecture of sound that could never be heard anywhere else. Accompanying her with thoughtful sensitivity are Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Mat Maneri on viola, Thomas Morgan on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums. Together they reflect the anger, sorrow and wistful longing of the music.Much of Zero Grasses can be found as part of her eponymous theatrical solo performance, which was commissioned by John Zorn and premiered in October, 2019 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY. It is her third fully-staged, multimedia production - all of which she has conceived, produced, composed, and performed herself - following Solo Rites: Seven Breaths in 2014 and Nine Doors in 2017. As in all her projects - a practice she calls "multilingual, ritual music dramas" - Shyu draws upon an astounding array of disciplines: dance, narrative storytelling, theater, in addition to her singing in five languages (Javanese, Indonesian, Resuk from Timor Leste, Japanese, and English), playing multiple instruments (Japanese biwa, Taiwanese moon lute, and piano), and incorporation of ancient performance practices absorbed from her immersive studies.In addition to the pieces from the theatrical production, the album also includes two pieces - "Display Under the Moon" and "A Cure for the Heart's Longing" - taken from Nine Doors. Shyu composed "Living's a Gift" (commissioned by American Composers Forum) and "Lament for Breonna Taylor" in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and the outcry over the gross injustices and killings of Black lives. Shyu sings all the vocal parts on the former - her first composition for choir - which is set to the heartbreakingly wise words of middle schoolers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter is dedicated to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman brutally murdered in her own apartment by police who had forcibly broken into her Louisville, Kentucky home. The song quotes from interviews with Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, and represents Shyu's desire to honor and give voice to Black lives that have been destroyed. "The Human Color" is a piece first recorded on her album Jade Tongue (Chiuyen Music 2009) about the history of Chinese indentured servants who were kidnapped and labored alongside enslaved African people in Cuba in the 19th century under Portuguese and Spanish colonialism. She recorded it again as it speaks to this moment in history, a call for solidarity in the ongoing war against racism.The sudden passing of Shyu's father changed everything for her, including her approach to Zero Grasses, and her own attitude toward her career, ambitions, life choices, fertility, and family. "I was suddenly confronted with questions of legacy, one's future children, what possessions really mean, what you're doing with your life, all these questions burning while you're feeling unfathomable grief," she said. Though it is far-reaching and ambitious, it is ultimately the most deeply personal work of Shyu's career."With Zero Grasses, I'm challenging myself again, starting from scratch," Shyu has said. "The work is still being built because it is so deeply personal and current to what's happening in my life; now sitting beside death, in a way, from my dad's passing, experiencing ending sand beginnings of relationships with pressing issues very close to home, that are also undeniably global. Creating this piece in particular has been like excavating objects, memories, and experiences from my childhood impulses, and seeing how they shaped this living, breathing moment. Almost like solving a mystery; tapping into dreams and visions and the powerful choices we make." It is a palpable homage to her father, who encouraged her to follow her heart and inspired her to "live life as I envision it."-Pi Recordings
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