MJR034 Views From Chicheng Precipice
Produced by Dennis Rea
Released on July 20, 2010
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MJR034 cover
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S ince I seldom provide soundbites and feel a bit guilty about that, here’s something: After hearing Views, I was immediately hungry for more. Actually, I had Chinese food last night and I wasn’t hungry at all afterwards. Got the Empress Chicken. Apparently, the Empress had some weight issues. It was surprisingly good though, which would also describe my reaction to Views From Chicheng Precipice. After two noisy avant-jazz albums (Moraine, Iron Kim Style), guitarist Dennis Rea and a coterie of familiar cohorts (familiar to listeners of Moraine or IKS, that is) artfully and naturally blend eastern (dan bau, bamboo flute) and western (electric guitar, trombone) sounds across five extended instrumentals. The graceful “Kan Hai De Re Zi” says it most succinctly, so you may want to start there. Rea spent several years living and playing in China (in fact, he released a solo album in China way back in 1990), and clearly he “gets” what can be accomplished by mixing the two styles and what might be lost if the eastern spirit is subordinated to noisy experimentation. Which isn’t to say that Views isn’t experimental; the whole thing is an experiment really, but even a strange journey like “Aviariations” is kept within the borders of traditional eastern and modern western art. Recorded between 2006 and 2008, the five pieces presented here benefit from fine collaborators, including the amazing Caterina De Re (kind of a Yoko Ornithologist), trombone/conch shell player Stuart Dempster and every member of Moraine. Typically, these east-meets-west recordings end up with western artists presenting a few trite Oriental themes in their own idiom. Rea is the rare artist who meets the orient on its own turf and infuses it with western avant-garde sensibilities. Of the three Rea-related recordings I’ve heard from Moonjune, Views From Chicheng Precipice is the higher achievement.


  2. TANGABATA    (traditional arr. by Dennis Rea)    15:55
  3. KAN HAI DE ZE RI ("DAYS BY THE SEA")    (Chen Ming-Chang, arranged by Dennis Rea with thanks to George Soler)    3:41
  4. AVIARIATIONS ON "A HUNDRED BIRDS SERENADE THE PHOENIX"    (traditional arr. by Dennis Rea)    6:51
  5. BAGUA ("EIGHT TRIGRAMS")    (traditional arr. by Dennis Rea)    10:35


DENNIS REA -- electric and resonator guitars, melodica, Naxi jaw harp, kalimba, dan bau (Vietnamese monochord)
Alicia Allen -- violin (1,3)
Greg Campbell -- drums and percussion (2)
Ruth Davidson -- cello (1,3)
James DeJoie -- bass flute, bamboo flute and bass clarinet (2)
Stuart Dempster -- trombone and conch shell (2)
Caterina De Re -- voice (4)
Will Dowd -- drums and percussion (1), engineer
Elizabeth Falconer -- koto (5)
John Falconer -- shakubachi (5)
Jay Jaskot -- drums (3)
Paul Kikuchi -- perussion (5)
Kevin Millard -- baliset (3)
Doug Haire -- engineer
Tiffany@Tifflin -- design & layout

US July 20, 2010 Moonjune CD MJR034  


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