JZ Festival Line-up and Links Oct. 16 and 17 (Oct. 18 coming soon)

Friday 16 October 7:30 at the Yunfeng Theater, 1700 Beijing Xi Lu near Wanhangdu Lu:

Jazz Shanghai: An All-Star band of Chinese jazz musicians from the Shanghai scene. It includes Coco Zhao on vocals, Bill Pan Jianglei on drums, Huang Jianyi on piano/keyboard, Wilson Chen on alto sax, Hu Danfeng on trumpet, and vocalists Joey Lu and Erica Lee.

Dee Dee Bridgwater (and her myspace): Apparently she’s going to do mostly stuff from her album Dear Ella at this opening gig with the JZ Big Band.

Saturday 17 October at Century Park, Pudong:

Jazz Stage:

1:00-2:00: Isradixie, a dixieland or traditional jazz band from Israel.

2:20-3:20: GMF, aka Global Music Foundation (Myspace for their saxophonist Gilad Atzmon), is a London based non-profit that focuses on teaching jazz and world music (they’ve had seminars all this week at JZ School) and ripping it on the stage. Having seen some of them this week at JZ I can tell you they are slammin’.

3:40-4:40: Sinne Eeg is a singing star of the Danish jazz scene and also has a Shanghai connection dating to a 2004 residency at House of Blues and Jazz and numerous visits since.

5:00-6:00: Ibrahim Electric has been covered here in reasonable depth already. But if you’re too lazy for a link, they are a genre-crossing Danish organ trio party band.

6:20-7:20: Red Groove Project were the regular Saturday night funk band at JZ when I first came to Shanghai. Ah memory lane. They are a fun band and will be performing with JZ boss Ren Yuqing on bass. Alec Haavik has even written new a tune called “Ren’s Jam.” I am so psyched I can’t breathe!

7:40-8:40: The Possicobilities are my favorite Shanghai jazz band along with Alec Haavik’s Friction X, where X equals the number of band members who can make the gig that night. Both bands are a little fusion-y so calling them jazz bands is not entirely accurate. What I like about them is that they have such a strong identity. Michael Schiefel, a German jazz singer, will be joining them.

Rock & Folk Stage:

1:30-2:30: Sugar Mama and the Royal Hombres don’t need a Myspace. They ARE Cotton Club and have been setting the stage on fire there for quite while now. Sugar Mama is easily the most soulful singer in town and the Cotton Club band (the Royal Hombres I guess) know how to put just enough of their own flavor on it for you to know who they are without turning it from a blues gig into a jazz gig.

2:50-3:50: Wang Xiaokun (WARNING: someone called “goose” has posted the same autoplaying terrible hip-hop track twice on Wang’s wall TWICE, so that it clashes not only with whatever you were listening to but also WITH ITSELF. Nice one, idiot.) Okay, tangential rant over. Mr. Wang is a TV show pop-star contest winner with a rock heart. Some kind of nice ideas there, but the singing is highly questionable. But that’s just Myspace. It’s certainly worth a look-in between GMF and Sinne Eeg though. Nice how they scheduled it so when bands are turning over on one set they’re in the middle of things on the other. Let’s see if it works out that way in reality.

4:10-5:10: JZ Latino is another band with no need for a Myspace. They pack the hell out of JZ every Friday and are easily the best Salsa band in town, and probably China. If you don’t know them head over and YOU WILL HAVE FUN, unless like a certain member of Layabozi you have this weird salsa hang up where you basically can’t listen to it because it will never live up to this one time at the Quito Salsa Fest.

5:30-6:30: Zhang Xuan, aka Deserts Chang, is a healthy portion too cliché ridden and fey for me, but so is at least 95% of Chinese Pop music (well, the English lyrics are cliché ridden). It’s very sweet and cute I guess.

7:10-8:10: Freshly Ground is a funky pop band from South Africa. Professional, groovy, pretty at times, but too poppy for my taste. Definitely still worth a look though and not just because they’re the only African band at the festival.

8:30-9:30: Zheng Jun (No myspace, but a pretty sweet video) is a rocker from Xi’an. He has a bit of the gruff ballsy Chinese rock singer sound I like, kind of similar to Xu Wei, with whom he released a CD called “Decisive Battle: Xu Wei vs. Zheng Jun.”

Electrograss Stage:

1:00-3:00: Student Ensembles

3:00-4:00: Alan Shanyinde spins broken beat

4:00-5:00: Reggae, dub, etc. from Uprooted Sunshine

5:00-6:00: Mash-ups from Bananas

6:00-7:00: The Melkman and Mr. Tsang rock some electro funk

7:00-8:00: D’nB, dub-step, and jungle from Phreaktion

8:00-9:00: The Syndicate drop in from Beijing and rock some more D’nB

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