Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Jon Jang: Self Portrait

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Jon Jang plays what used to be dismissively called arranger piano. He’s a leading composer and bandleader in the S.F. Bay area who has often explored Chinese and Asian-American musical themes. While his previous recordings raised tough questions about issues of social justice, this particular solo outing is more contemplative and spiritual. Jang is not a virtuoso player. Though his ideas are always evident, his dynamic range is narrow, his touch is not exactly subtle and he favors cliched trills and tremolos, sometimes to distraction. Jang generates some energy on “The Procession/Woman Shaman of Alishan,” and his version of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want” goes into some unexpected, if tentative, directions. Still, I can’t wait to hear some of the originals fleshed out by a larger group.