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< A Bu Jazz Trio Concert > 2013-11-05 08:15:45 Repinted. Life & City. Website: LINK Sure, China has piano prodigies the way Newcastle has coal, but how many 14-year-olds run their own professional jazz combo? Just one. Meet Dai Liang, known through the astonished jazz world as A Bu, musician, composer and boy genius. Nicknamed for a sound he made as a baby, the Beijing native exudes enthusiasm, with his email interview highlighted in green and peppered with exclamation points. But according to his mother, his talent took time to emerge. ‘When he was four, we went to a piano store, and he played for awhile,’ she recalls. ‘At the beginning, A Bu was not special, he was just like any normal boy who wanted to learn an instrument. Sure, we were surprised and happy that he was so musical, but back then no one expected too much.’ Nevertheless, the family went home with an upright, and A Bu soon showed his knack for music. Local jazz piano celebrity Hongwei ‘Golden Buddha’ Kong got wind of his talent and took the nine-year-old on as a student. That same year, A Bu entered the Central Conservatory of Music for classical training, ‘I started to love jazz because I listened to a CD of Michel Camilo,’ he says. ‘He is my hero forever!’ He also counts as role models Chick Corea and Michel Petrucciani; once he truly discovered jazz, he never looked back. ‘I love the rhythm and feeling of jazz music,’ he says. ‘It’s not the same as classical music; you need to feel jazz yourself.’ In 2011, Kong encouraged his young charge to set up regular jam session at Beijing’s CD Blues Café; a year later he had established the A Bu Jazz Trio. Growing up a jazz musician in classical-obsessed China isn’t easy, and A Bu stands out from his fellow musicians. ‘He’s perfect for classical music, but he’s such a good jazz musician,’ says Xia Jia, premier jazz pianist and keyboardist for rock legend Cui Jian. ‘He knows how to improvise – that’s really rare in China. He knows how to make his own sound.’ Xia points out that music, particularly piano, is a solitary pursuit – students hole themselves up in practice rooms and never learn collaboration. ‘Most kids his age don’t know how to play with others, but he can go to a jazz club and jam with other musicians,’ he continues. ‘He uses music to communicate.’ A Bu occasionally meets those who try to guide him into a comparatively safe classical career, but he has never felt any real resistance. ‘Music comes from yourself, he says. ‘Whatever they say, just play your own music. Chick Corea told me: “Create the music you love. And have fun!”’ He now plays saxophone, guitar, bass and percussion, and is learning recording software and studying classical composition. ‘Learning instruments is good for the band,’ he says. ‘A composer can write a piece for an orchestra, but sometimes the orchestra can’t play the piece, because instruments can’t play some parts,’ he says. ‘Why does this happen? Because the composer doesn’t know the instruments. Learning more helps you know more. And it’s fun too!’ The A Bu Jazz Trio includes ‘good friends’ bassist Ma Kai and percussionist Shao HaHa; they recorded their first CD this past January, due for release next year. ‘The Forbidden City Concert Hall Live might be my second album and DVD,’ he says. ‘Please come to the show, it will be fun!’ His programme includes songs by Chick Corea, Michel Camilo and A Bu himself. ‘The concert will be good,’ he says. ‘I love my band, we all love music! And we’ll do the best sound for people!’ His legions of fans agree, but Dai is pragmatic. ‘As his mother, I am very proud of him, he has some achievements,’ she says. ‘But we know he still has a long way to go.’ No matter, A Bu is in no hurry. ‘I’m never giving up music,’ he enthuses. ‘I’ll play forever.’   < Sennheiser launches CD for young musician > Published: 14 May 2013 Source: ProAudio-Central.com [ weblink ] CHINA: The Sennheiser Group recently provided 13-year-old pianist A Bu with an award-winning team of sound and recording engineers to produce and release his debut album. A Bu began his piano training with Professor Shigu Zhang from the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing when he was four years old. At the age of nine, he started studying within the music school attached to the Central Conservatory of Music and began his tutelage under the professors Zhiwei Zhang and Hongwei. He was then encouraged to develop his music overseas which saw him join piano camps in the US during summer periods. In June 2012, A Bu was promoted to the Advanced Music School, and later performed at several Sennheiser-sponsored events in China, including the Piano of Beijing Jungle Big Band and the Piano of Rolf Becker Big Band, as well as performing at the Beijing Nine Gates Jazz Festival. ‘We were amazed at this talented young person who was miles ahead of his age in terms of skill, and so Sennheiser as a company decided to do what we could to support his growth as a musician,’ said Marc Vincent, president of Greater China, Sennheiser. ‘It just so happened that it was time for him to release an album and so together with his team of teachers and management, we hired Grammy-award winning recording engineer, Jakob Haendel to produce his first album.’ A four-day recording session was held in January in Beijing, culminating in a 50 minute-long album that will feature up to 10 songs. ‘Now we’re in the middle of production and already we’re on a very high level – you’ll be surprised,’ said Mr Haendel. ‘He’s a young boy who has already done a lot of live performances, and you can see that he really enjoys playing in front of people. ‘This is a fairly big studio with only one recording room so we’re recording old school by having all the musicians in the same room,’ he explained. ‘We don’t have a drum booth and all the sound is generated in just this room, so it has been more technical and robust.’ ‘We are trying our best to support A Bu in his career,’ said his father, Bin Dai. ‘He has his own studio at home and as he is still young, so an education is still the most important thing for the time being. We will send him to America to study jazz music in the near future to help him continue on this journey.’ A Bu’s first album is scheduled for launch on July 16th, which also happens to be his 14th birthday. A Bu also plays in a trio jazz band with drummer Shao Ha Ha and bass player Ma Kai. www.sennheiser.com.hk  < Teen pianist has a passion for all that jazz > By Chen Nan Publsihed July 21, 2014 Reprinted with permission of Chen Chan / China Daily Weblink: China Daily     Music prodigy Dai Liang, better known as A Bu, has just released his first jazz album. Beijing native A Bu celebrated his 15th birthday on July 16, and the biggest gift he received was the release of his first album, 88 Tones of Black and White, from A Bu Trio.   In a black tailored suit, the young musician took a seat in front of a piano. Along with veteran bassist Ma Kai and drummer Shao Haha, he played two tracks from the album, Miles Davis Licks and A Night in Tunisia. With his fingers effortlessly tinkling the ivories, A Bu astonished his audience. Indeed, the young boy, whose real name is Dai Liang, has created a buzz in the jazz scene ever since he started to regularly perform at jam sessions at CD Cafe in Beijing in 2011.   His love for music started at the age of 4 when he walked into a music shop in Beijing with his parents and pointed to the biggest instrument that he could see - the piano. He began classical piano training and, at 9, he was accepted into the primary school affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.   "I knew that I might be different from other children, who learn the piano from a very young age," Dai says, while pushing up his glasses. Instead of playing Beethoven and Mozart, he discovered jazz. He cites acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Michel Camilo as his biggest idol. "A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie was my first encounter with jazz music. It's so different from what I have learned. I love it so much," says Dai, who is now in his second year of study at the middle school affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music, majoring in both classical and jazz piano.   At age 9, he persuaded his parents to let him take jazz and Latin lessons along with his classical piano education. He also listens to rock and pop music and is a big fan of John Lennon. According to Dai's father, Dai Bin, a jazz fan, his son enjoys playing impromptu for hours after finishing the practice assigned by his teachers. "He feels no pressure and relaxes by playing piano, which is just the spirit of jazz," his father says.   Veteran bassist Huang Yong, founder of the Beijing Nine Gates International Jazz Music Festival, has invited the young musician to the opening concert at the 7th Beijing Nine Gates International Jazz Music Festival in 2012, which won Dai more performing opportunities in China and abroad. "He often comes to watch live jazz performances at Beijing's popular music venues, such as CD Cafe and East Shore Jazz Cafe, with his father. One day, I was surprised to see him onstage, improvising with the bands," Huang says. "His music is completely mature and beyond his age. It's not just skill but also emotions."   One of Dai's teachers, jazz pianist Kong Hongwei, who formed one of China's pioneering jazz bands, Golden Buddha, taught Dai for more than five years. Kong was amazed by Dai's talent and passion for jazz. "Like many children who learn instruments in China, Dai participated in many competitions. But besides awards, he enjoys playing onstage for audiences," says Kong.   Dai's debut album was made with the help of Sennheiser Media, which has named him as the first recording artist under the label to promote young and upcoming talents around the world. "We've worked on this album for two years and we've experienced in the studio a true live performance by the three musicians," says Marc Vincent, president of Sennheiser Greater China, who was in Beijing to release the album.   chennan@chinadaily.com.cn
“I have never met a kid, as young as A Bu, who could perform so well with us experienced players. ” Huang Yong, Renowed Jazz Bass Player
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