by Elliot Thorpe
Asian Jazz, by its very nature, is a musical style that encompasses a varying number of influences. Of course, it originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans late in the 19th century but went on to incorporate Latin and Afro-Cuban themes over the decades with one of the more unique styles came to fruition sometime later, that of Asian-American.
Asian Americans have been performing jazz almost since the style’s birth, yet it took all those years for the brand to begin developing. The addition of Asian instruments gives it a wonderfully distinct sound that cannot be confused with anything else. However, the story of Asian Jazz doesn’t begin there.
In the mid-1930s, the American jazz trumpet player Buck Clayton moved to Shanghai. There, he led the band Harlem Gentlemen, playing for the wife and sister of Chian Kai-shek, the Republic of China’s leader, until 1948…. continue reading in the Fall 2018 issue of SEARCH.