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Jon Jang-Francis Wong Quartet April 22

Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 08:00 PM
Community Music Center in San Francisco, CA

Jazz in the Neighborhood proudly presents Jon Jang & Francis Wong with special guest Hafez Modirzadeh. Presented as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Asian Improv Arts, this will be no ordinary event.

Starting off, the Jazz Journalists Association will be honoring Jang and Wong with the 2017 Jazz Heroes Award for their work as jazz activists and advocates who have made a significant impact in their local communities. Jazz in the Neighborhood is honored to be hosting the awards presentation, which was announced after we had booked the group some months ago.

The musical portion of the evening begins with a saxophone trio improvisation by Francis Wong, Hafez Modirzadeh, and emerging artist William Berg.

Next will be a quartet performance with Jang on keys, Modirzadeh sitting in for Francis Wong, with Gary Brown on bass, and Deszon Claiborne on drums. Their set will encompass the music of resistance that is part of the legacy contributed by Charles Mingus and Max Roach as well as tunes representing the hybrid of Chinese folk music in a black context.

After the intermission, Jang and Wong will be joined by Deborah Wong, UC Riverside music professor and author of Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music, to reflect on the important and influential history of Asian Improv Arts, co-founded in 1987 by Jang and Wong to produce, present, and document artistic works that represent the Asian American experience.

Jon Jang is a pianist, composer, bandleader and activist whose music reflects his thirst for social justice and his gift for merging jazz with traditional Chinese musical forms and cadences. He has created an ambitious body of epic works that is nothing less than a strikingly vivid history of the Chinese American experience. 

Though a brilliant saxophonist, Francis Wong has often put his performing career on the back burner to serve the Bay Area arts community. He’s been particularly involved in supporting artists seeking to create music inspired by and growing out of movements for social justice.

As always, Jazz in the Neighborhood and Community Music Center present music at prices people can afford. Please join and support us as we honor these two great musicians.

Admission is $15 general, $10 for students and seniors

Click here for tickets!


Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 02:00 PM
Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, CA

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Asian Improv aRts, a nonprofit that produces, presents and documents artistic works that represent the Asian American experience. To celebrate, co-founder Francis Wong is teaming up with longtime collaborator Tatsu Aoki, founder and artistic director of Asian Improv aRts Midwest, to present Asian Improv Nation, a special ensemble made up of leading Chicago and San Francisco artists with special guests from Los Angeles and Tokyo. Featured from Chicago will be bassist Aoki, taiko (Japanese drum) performer Kioto Aoki and woodwind specialists Mwata Bowden and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. From San Francisco will be saxophonists Wong, hammered dulcimer virtuoso Yangqin Zhao, taiko drummer Melody Takata and trapset drummer Deszon X. Claiborne. From LA will be tuba performer William Roper. Shamisen (three-string lute) grandmaster Chizuru Kineya will travel from Tokyo for this special event. Through this performance, Aoki and Wong will make audible their shared decades-long exploration at the nexus of traditional Japanese and Chinese music and improvised music.

Free, with Museum Admission

For more information visit: http://www.asianart.org/events/1129?starttime=1486771200

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Asian Improv aRts
Founded in 1987, Asian Improv aRts’ (AIR) mission is to produce, present and document artistic works that represent the Asian American experience.