Jiaowei has written several articles for our magazine and is instrumental in our work exploring the jazz scene in China. She was also one of our first podcast guests!
I am an independent jazz writer based in Shanghai, China.
Over the past 6 years, I have published over 90 articles online and in print, working closely with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Blue Note China, Pro Helvetia, JZ Music, Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, Modern Weekly, Shanghai Culture Square, etc.. Determined to take my part in the popularization process of jazz in China, in 2019 I independently accomplished a local government-commissioned research project on “Youth Engagement in the Jazz Industry of Shanghai”.
Through jazz writing, I hope to bring people and different parties together, to build bridges for people to meet, across ethnics and races, across religions and beliefs, across genders and generations, across occupations and fields, and even across diverse ways of thinking. That is how jazz has enlightened me, so I want to write about it in return. One day in 2019, it suddenly hit me that I should help to let the world hear what is happening in China, since when it has become part of my mission. Being a long-time follower of All About Jazz, I wish to contribute, as much as to learn and take a step forward. To connect, as much as to be connected.
I did not grow up in jazz, even though I am born and bred a Shanghainese, in a city that had a history with jazz back in the 20s. Learning classical piano since childhood in the 90s, I finally discovered my interest in jazz during my undergraduate years. In Mandarin, we have the word “缘分” (pronounced in Chinese Pin Yin as “Yuán Fèn”). It carries the meaning of a predestined relationship, some sort of fate or destiny that brings people together. The best is yet to come. For me jazz music came late, but joyfully it did anyway, in perfect shape.
A decade ago, I heard “Jasmine” by chance, an ECM record by the duo of Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden. Influenced by the piano and classical music background perhaps, I totally gravitated. Later, jazz has been revealing itself even more to me. It is a blessing to feel learning a joy. Everyone is not Einstein. But jazz sometimes pushes you into a state of wanting to be everything: a scientist, a painter, a novelist, a show host, a trader, or even a wanderer. Jazz has opened me up from the inside and granted me a lifetime attitude of openness.
Diversity. Freedom. Naturality. I am totally in for these and jazz just has them all. So here I am, writing on jazz from the Far East, from China. The market is growing, but that is only the shallow surface. To dig a bit deeper, I think today many Chinese are in common in the spirit - usually a bit timid to express it though - that we aspire to open up to the world and get connected. Be it our musicians, aficionados, agents, managers...... our culture. To connect and be connected, just like anyone else.
My Jazz Story
Diversity. Freedom. Naturality. The DIVERSITY of displaying and fusing any elements into a whole fresh thing. The FREEDOM within band cooperation that encourages fearless souls to go anywhere. The NATURALITY as one stays true to his inner feelings and physical motions, true to his mind-thinking and self-expressing, true to himself in the post-production no less than the creation process. I've found that these three merits of jazz musicians, do pass on to the audience and listeners, rush deep into their hearts and sometimes impact them for the better.
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