Pianist and composer Dongfeng Liu does an adept job at mixing flavors and sounds from his native China with Caribbean grooves and jazz concepts on this wide ranging album. The core team of John Benitez/b, Roberto Quintero/perc, Francis Benitez/dr deliver rich and creative material such as the Monkish ”Mirror Image” and modal bopping “Coltrane’s Tune” while giving a tropical Afro Cuban gallop on “I Know You.”
Things get a bit more exotic when Min Xiafen brings in traditional stringed ruan or the woodwind pipa and Feifei Yang adds the bowed erhu. Asian tones and harmonies team with a hip bass line for a clever “In the Clouds” with some rich Mongolian throat singing provided by Hanggai Band, while a mix of percussion, piano and strings create an exotic “Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon.” The melding of Asian spices are added with subtlety, not overpowering the material or sounding contrived, swirling around the frying pan of songs to create a rich taste to savor. Impressive! Any trips to So Cal coming?