LI ZENGHUI – Live At Waterland Kwanyin

Kwanyin

In several parts of this set the audience’s chatter almost overwhelms poor Li, who tries hard to affirm his energy but seems to be completely ignored. As the minutes flow, things get a little better and one is less distracted by silly laughs, cell phone tones and other assorted demonstrations of insensibility defining a good chunk of this disc. Thus we concentrate on the protagonist, who uses a single instrument (saxophone) plus voice and what’s described as “micro theatre” to tell us something about him. The man won’t be the next Evan Parker or a Chinese Alfred Harth, that’s a sure thing, yet he does own a personality. Squealing shrieks, gargling’n’ babbling elucubrations, subtly piercing upper partials and nearly inaudible quivers and hisses are all part of the recipe; everything is utilized without surpluses of sorts, a well perceptible intensity helping to avoid weariness. It would have been nice for this far-flung listener to see Zenghui in action directly, as the CD doesn’t give a correct idea of the physical actions, though a few intuitions can be gathered. The feel here is that he’s more gifted than the scarcely intelligent people who disregarded this performance. Make that “this struggle”.

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