Jon Jang

Immigrant Suite, No. 1

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I remember hearing on NPR about the collection of poems entitled Island - Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island 1910-1940. It struck me as a particularly telling way in which to suggest what the immigrants experienced. Text from that book is used by Asian improv artist Jon Jang to express his reaction to the book. Think transoceanic journey, culture shock and a massive bureaucracy of queues and paperwork. This all experienced by humans of feeling and will, not mute units. The reflections are made in this compositions of tranquil interludes, jazz colliding with Asia and metaphored through an Oriental lens, and challenging, dissonant improvisation. The piece would not be as successful without the expressive reading and singing of Poetry and History coauthor Genny Lim. It also brings one strike against the recordings. Ms. Lim's voice is mostly in the midrange, but her level is too low in the final mix. To understand her words you may edge the volume up and get caught by the music (now too loud) after her.

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