The world just learned of the passing of the legend McCoy Tyner, who changed the course of jazz piano. He’s most well known for his work in John Coltrane’s classic quartet, where his propulsive, hypnotic rhythms, melodicism, and harmonic sophistication was a vital part of the groundwork which allowed the entire group to leave the stratosphere night after night. to McCoy has an amazing body of work beyond that, I’d recommend album Sama Layuca for a start.
Here’s my 2011 interview that we conducted in the kitchen of the Blue Note.
We have a live performance in studio with Zhou Benming of the Zhou Family Band. Ethnomusicoligist Mu Quian guides us through through the music.
Zhou Jingzhi, founder of the Zhou Family Band, used to play in the royal court of the Qing Dynasty. After dynastic China came to an end, later generations of the family made their living by playing at local ceremonies.
The band has become so popular that sometimes people have to book them two years in advance for a ceremony. Now more than 100 members of the Zhou family and over 1000 students are active in playing at rituals in their hometown and the adjacent areas.
The band plays traditional wind and percussion music that has accompanied the birth and death of people in central-eastern China for more than 600 years. Coming from Lingbi, Anhui Province, part of the Central Plain area which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Zhou Family Band have been musicians for seven generations, and are bearers of a tradition that represents the cream of Chinese folk music – Bolin Laba, a national intangible cultural heritage of China.