It’s been a big month for jazz in Shanghai. Over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday weekend, JZ — the biggest and most prestigious jazz festival in Asia — celebrated its 15th year with sets from legendary rocker Cui Jian (JZ founder Lao Ren’s old bandmate), Al Mckay’s Earth Wind & Fire Experience, and Norwegian jazz experimentalists Jaga Jazzist, among many others. That same weekend, storied New York club Blue Note officially christened its Shanghai location with back-to-back sets by one of the living legends redefining the genre today, Kamasi Washington.
As those in the know will tell you, China’s relationship with jazz extends all the way back to the Swinging ’20s, when American GI’s in the bustling port city of Shanghai mixed in with local musicians and the spin-off genre of Shidaiqu was born. To celebrate Chinese Jazz heroes past and present, enjoy our humble Spotify playlist of some RADII favorites, from straight-ahead bebop to liberal interpretations of old standards run through the filters of pop, rock, hip hop and electronica:
Cover photo: The Old Jazz Band at Shanghai’s Peace Hotel on The Bund, by Vhines200
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