© 2011 Mutable Music/Big Red Media Inc.
℗ 2011 Mutable Music/Big Red Media Inc.
Fred Ho (baritone sax); Hafez Modirzadeh (soprano sax); Bobby Zankel (alto sax); Salim Washington (tenor sax)
Darker than Blue, inspired by Curtis Mayfield's song, We the People Who are Darker than Blue, employs shifting meters (including a blues section in 11/8 and 11.5 /8), 12-tone serialism, compound meter ostinati, and Lydian chromatic approaches to orchestration.
Ho's Yellow Power, Yellow Soul Suite coincides with the soon-to-be publication of the Drs. Roger Buckley and Tamara Roberts' festschrift by the same title, and includes the previously recorded "Fishing Song of the East China Sea" (originally a flute trio with bass violin on the out-of-print recording by Fred Ho and the Asian American Art Ensemble, Bamboo that Snaps Back; and the now-defunct Brooklyn Sax Quartet recording The Far Side of Here), as well as Afro-Asian adaptations of other Asian folk songs.
Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist) is an homage to one of Asian America's greatest innovators, martial artist-actor-philosopher-teacher Bruce Lee. Lalo Schifrin-esque tropes from the epic film, Enter: The Dragon, combine with the élan of Stan Getz-ian bossa nova and cool styles, and epitomize the Zen-like philosophy and pugilism of Bruce Lee: the art of fighting without fighting; or as Ho has stated: the point of technique is to have no technique (and by inference, be completely intuitive, improvisational and in the moment).
Reflections (Upon Reflections!), in a sonata-like form of Exposition upon Monk's classic tune, an extended Development that is a significant departure from a chord-changes based tune, and a brief Recapitulation. Misty-ificaton is a "what-if" supposition: What if the DNA of Errol Garner's Misty was mixed with the genes of Rob Zombie's films? Frightening? Horrifying? Or, Hyperbolized? Steroidal balladry?
During the international campaign to oppose the celebration of the Columbus quincentennial, in which indigenous peoples joined with anti-imperialist and pro-social justice forces worldwide, including a vast array of artists, the old Fred Ho composed the Beyond Columbus and Capitalism suite for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, which would during the 1990s lead to the formation of the Brooklyn Sax Quartet when Ho was asked to do numerous benefit concerts throughout New York City.
Reflections (Redux and Prefigurative) has Ho playing Thelonius Monk's melody in the very bottom register of his low-A horn while voicing the accompanying saxes down-upwards, and ending with a collective bluesy-gospel romp towards an ending chord of precursory possibilities.
Finally, the extraordinary duet by Fred Ho and Persian-American vocalist Haleh Abghari, Dear Reader, based upon a James Tate poem, which was commissioned in 2006 by the Guggenheim Museum Works and Process series. enheim Museum Works and Process series.
Reviews"...its disciplined/riotous sound suggests that he's not only still going after a long bout with cancer, but is still going strong." Mike Heffley, Signal to Noise