Decca Classics presents: Hyun Soo Kim singing Schubert, Tosti, Donizetti, Erik Satie along with his own tracks. All songs are perfomed in Korean.
I’m honored to discuss this CD. I found Fred Ho’s Monkey: Part One a glorious surprise, and this second section of his musical setting for the trickster tale is no disappointment. The ensemble’s personnel has few changes, notably Francis Wong as tenorist; but its spirit remains dramatic, flexible and visionary as Ho achieves tremendous range from trombone, three saxophones (including his own baritone), bass and drums, and several performers on Chinese traditional instruments.
Monkey is a two-part recording of baritone saxophonist Fred Ho's multimedia musical Journey Beyond the West, centered around the Chinese trickster figure of Monkey (à la Coyote in much native American lore) that combines Chinese folk music and instrumentation with jazz. Acts I and III (composed in 1990/1989, respectively) are featured here, with Acts II and IV (both written in 1994) on the companion Monkey, Pt. 2 disc.
Snake-Eaters debuts Fred Ho's Saxophone Liberation Front, featuring composer Ho on baritone saxophone and Hafez Modirzadeh (soprano), Bobby Zankel (alto) and Salim Washington (tenor). Darker than Blue, inspired by Curtis Mayfield's song, We the People Who are Darker than Blue, employs shifting meters (including a blues section in 11/8 and 11.5 /8), 12-tone serialism, compound meter ostinati, and Lydian chromatic approaches to orchestration. Ho's Yellow Power, Yellow Soul Suite coincides with the soon-to-be publication of the Drs. Roger Buckley and Tamara Roberts' festschrift by the same title, and includes the previously recorded "Fishing Song of the East China Sea" (originally a flute trio with bass violin on the out-of-print recording by Fred Ho and the Asian American Art Ensemble, Bamboo that Snaps Back; and the now-defunct Brooklyn Sax Quartet recording The Far Side of Here), as well as Afro-Asian adaptations of other Asian folk songs.
To approximate the first half of Fred Ho's album Year of the Tiger, it's necessary to imagine the sound that might be created if the members of Duke Ellington & His Orchestra were mixed with the players from Parliament/Funkadelic and set loose on the Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix catalogs. That's right, songs like "Thriller" and "Purple Haze" get severely retrofitted into an aggressive, irreverent jazz-funk style, with harsh, massed horn parts. Sometimes, the sound resembles a couple of high-school marching bands fighting it out on the same football field.