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Jeff Fairbanks’ Project Hansori: Mulberry Street

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Multiculti trombonist-composer Jeff Fairbanks explores a fusion of Korean, Chinese and Italian musics on this daring big-band outing. The centerpiece of the project is “Mulberry Street,” a four-part suite commissioned by the BMI Foundation and inspired by that strip of real estate in Lower Manhattan that connects Little Italy to Chinatown. Baritone sax ace Fred Ho is featured on two parts of this sprawling suite that marries traditional Chinese motifs and Western brass-band traditions while blending in free-jazz expressions. Other highlights on this ambitious project (produced by Fairbanks’ colleague and fellow big-band leader Darcy James Argue) include “San Ma Da,” a breezy take on a Korean hymn that showcases Fairbanks’ fluid lines and lyrical sensibilities on trombone; the dynamic and thematically shifting “Woodside Story”; and the dissonant twelve-tone piece “Bi Bim Bop,” which swings as it twists and recycles itself.

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