Pierre Favre / Yang Jing Two in One

There have been many attempts at fusing traditional Eastern musicians and instruments with Western improvisers all with generally sketchy results. The problems generally arise when it comes to people meeting each other as musicians rather than artists where you get either empty virtuosity or awkward politeness. Either way, most of what I have heard has been pretty much disposable. But this one’s a keeper. Yang Jing plays a traditional Chinese string instrument called a pipa and Pierre Favre plays drums. Now that’s enough to worry me in as much as the pipa isn’t exactly the loudest instrument in the world and the drums… well, enough said. The sensitivity and musicality that Favre brings to this session is quite amazing and that doesn’t mean that he holds back. The first track hammers along like a kodo drumming session and Jing eats it up and answers back with some aggression of her own. The dynamic range these two occupy is also highly varied with the drums and cymbals sounding notes and tones and the pipa clicking and popping along like a small percussion set. While the overall effect seems to be that Favre is more flexible in his accommodations than Jing; Jing’s almost ornery virtuosity makes all nitpicking irrelevant. This is a highly musical meeting where everyone walks away with integrity and artistry intact. (Intakt)