The Aeolian Trio
"The Silk Road, Jazz and Modern Sounds from Spain to Tokyo"
The shakuhachi, a Japanese traditional bamboo flute that is rooted in Zen Buddhism, meets the guitar, a Spanish folk instrument that became a giant of jazz, rock and pop. In ancient times the shakuhachi was carried from the Middle East to Japan on the fabled Silk Road. Meanwhile, the guitar springs from flamenco and Renaissance traditions, and has antecedents in the Middle Eastern Oud. These seemingly disparate traditions separated by a two continents spring from the same cradle of civilization. Now, centuries later, in California, Tokyo, and New York, Japanese guitarist Kôfû Suwa and shakuhachi master Bruce Huebner join New York-based percussionist Todd Isler to reunite these ancient traditions and bring them into the Twenty First Century. In their concert we hear how the melisma and phrygian “Spanish” mode is answered by the nuances of the Japanese miyako mode of the Zen bamboo flute, and how the rich rhythmic traditions of South and Central Asia underpin the fusion.
The first-time audience goer might ask can two such seemingly disparate worlds be joined in a meaningful way? The concert opens with a solo by the guitar in the style of flamenco. This is contrasted immediately with a shakuhachi piece that Buddhist mendicants, the komuso, have transmitted over centuries. While these hallowed sounds are still ringing in our ears, Aeolian Duo is joined by the hand drums and frame drums and performs a set of original material and take us to a new world and a remarkable fusion. This is very much a Twenty-first century concert that interconnects us and reconnects ancient traditions.