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Pet Sins May 2007

Far East Suite: Anthony Brown's Orchestra - jazz orchestra meets the instruments of Iran and East Asia

In this 1999 album, orchestra director Anthony Brown reinterprets Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's 1966 Far East Suite by combining the sounds of the jazz orchestra with musical influences from Iran, Japan, and China. Among the diverse artistes featured on this album are Qi Chao Liu playing the Chinese sheng, suona (reed trumpet) and dizi (bamboo flute); and Hafez Modirzadeh playing the ney (end-blown flute), daf (frame drum), karna and goshme (Persian double reed instruments). Brown was nominated for a 1999 Grammy for this work.

Brown, who is of African American/Choctaw/Japanese descent, previously served as curator of American musical cultures at the Smithsonian Institute. He has also produced other fusion albums, such as Suite: Oakland, which opens with a chant inspired by the native Ohone people of Oakland, California. Beijing-born musician Liu Qi Chao and Filipino American musician Melecio Magdaluyo also combine Chinese instruments and Filipino rhythms in this suite.