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April 2, 2010

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One from the heart

WHAT better way to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to the gentle jazz of award-winning Canadian pianist and composer David Braid?

The "JZ in the Oriental" concert series presents his "Solo Journey into the Heart" at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center this Sunday.

Regarded as one of Canada's most gifted young pianists and composers, Braid is one of the new generation of Canadian artists making his mark on the international stage.

He has performed across Western Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia, Brazil, the United States and in his native country.

Combining harmonic intricacies fundamental to his training in European classical music and the spontaneity of American jazz, Braid's original music engages audiences with a quiet, thoughtful, lyrical voice that does not conform neatly to any one musical genre.

His work has been described as "refreshingly uncategorizable, wide-ranging, exploratory and elegant."

Mozart was the reason why Braid became an improviser.

And as for his musical roots, Braid believes that they are in the composers of European classical music, especially those who invented music with the entirety of musical history in mind, and those who do it with emotional impact and economical expression.

After about 15 years of studying other artists' work, Braid suddenly thought that rather than looking for ideas from the exterior, he should be looking into his interior, too.

"Right now, I am focused on seeing what musical ideas come most naturally when I write without any filters or concerns," says Braid.

In addition to designing music where every event contributes to the totality of the form, Braid wants every musical idea to embrace the listener on some level - not to cater to their sense of sentimentality or nostalgia, but respect their higher intelligence, and maybe reach out to their spiritual side.

Recently named the "2009 Jazz Pianist of the Year" in Canada, Braid is also a recipient of a SOCAN Composer of the Year award (2007), recognizing his output of more than 70 works including compositions for solo piano, jazz ensembles and symphony orchestras.

He is a Juno Award winner, National Jazz Award winner and a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts' "JazzID Award."

When Braid formed his first ensemble, The David Braid Sextet, he was interested in the compositional possibilities with large ensembles.

He wrote about 60 works for that ensemble, as well compositions for jazz orchestra, string ensemble and symphonic orchestra.

"I enjoy writing for the wonderful musicians who play my pieces, and I love the surprises from their interpretations of my work," says Braid. "I must admit, though, great as these experiences are, there is always a part of me which reluctantly lets go of the way I originally imagined the music to sound.

"That's why I often feel compelled to prepare a project presenting my compositional voice in its unaltered form," he says.

The solo concert this Sunday may provide audiences with the music of each nuance that Braid originally wished for.

Date: April 4, 3pm

Venue: Performance Hall of Shanghai Oriental Art Center, 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong

Tickets: 60-300 yuan

Tel: 6217-2426 6217-3055


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