Reviews that mention Mwata Bowden

August 13, 2009

The Miyumi Project

Live In Poland
Southport S-SSD-0125

Sociologically as well as musically notable, this live session captures the excitement engendered by the performance of a Chicago-based Asian-American ensemble at a Polish music festival. This is more than a clichéd tale about music’s universality. For here are 800 people in a small Eastern European city clapping along to sounds produced not only by the familiar Western instruments of saxophonists Francis Wong and Mwata Bowden, violinist Jonathan Chen and bassist Tatsu Aoki, but those of Hide Yoshihashi, Amy Homma and Melody Takata – traditional Japanese taiko drums that have no musical scales or devices for controlling the sound. MORE

June 30, 2003


Oh, My Dog
ICP 040

Rooted: Origins of Now
Southport/Asian Improv S-SSD 0092

Performing with a mid-sized band of improvisers is widespread because it provides freedom both for the composer(s) and the players. Nine plus instruments often provide enough variations to illustrate a writer’s vision; and with fewer than 12 bandmates, musicians can contribute much more than if they’re mere section placeholders.

Small big bands can also be used to express radically different concepts as these skilled CDs demonstrate. Together for almost 30 years, the Dutch ICP Orchestra has featured many different soloists over time, but with laissez faire direction coming from pianist/composer Misha Mengelberg, there’s a consistency there. Tatsu Aoki’s Myumi Project, on the other hand, is mostly a recording ensemble, put together to give flesh to the bassist/composer’s musical portraits of Asian American improvisers in particular and Asians in North America in general. MORE

June 2, 2000


Last Option
Thrill Jockey Records Thrill 071

When people say that a certain musician could write for the movies, they usually mean he'd be good at creating background music. 8 Bold Souls' leader Edward Wilkerson could write for film all right, but for a completely different reason. His arrangements and compositions, which make up this disc, are so cinematic that there are times you can almost "see" the movie unrolling as the music plays.

"Brown Town" for instance, with its double duos of Wilkerson's soulful tenor accompanied by a boogaloo drum beat and Jackson's tailgate trombone fronting a brass bass tuba, could be a stroll down an urban street, moving from a 1940s swing dance club to a 1960s R&B hangout.