Crashing Corporate Christmas Parties in Mongolia
"Of the three piano players I have heard playing jazz music since I've been over here, Ganbat, Purevsukh and Anar, Purevsukh is the best. His playing is influenced by the musicians he has heard on CDOscar Peterson, Michael Petrucianni, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, and he has a strong desire to learn as much as he can about jazz. I have been teaching him, privately at first, and more recently at the UB Jazz Academy, for the last four months, and his playing has improved exponentially since then.
As for composing jazz based on Mongolian songs, much of it is a natural fit.
"The Mongolian songs do seem to fit perfectly into a bossa nova style without sounding cheesy in any way," he stated. "Putting them into swing is a little more difficult and you have to select the right Mongolian song for the task. Some of them are written in 4/4 with three-bar phrases which I find extremely interesting to play over. The temptation to 'square them up' to four-bar phrases is sometimes overwhelming but to be avoided at all costsotherwise where's the challenge?"
Other foreign musicians say the communal attitude and honed interest Mongolians have about culture also bode well when it comes to the future of jazz.
"One thing I have always enjoyed about Mongolia, as compared to many other developing countries, is that the foreign community is not sequestered in any manner," Rasmussen wrote. "There are no 'foreign' restaurants or clubsall places are patronized by a mix of Mongolian and foreigners. The foreign community is simply too small for a business operator to try to operate only on the expat community. That means that any venue offering jazz is doing so because the combined audience is interested in the music, not simply the foreigners."
Bruce Petherick, the pianist for the Northern Lights Quartet, wrote in his band's blog that the attention from audience members was surprising.
"What is amazing about its people is they listen so intensely," he wrote. "They're having fun, but they're just so concentrating on what they're doing. And that makes it from a performer's point of view wonderful."
Several players said they work to expand education programs and special performances in 2007, with a third Giant Steppes festival tentatively planned for 2008. Tromans said he plans to remain involved beyond the year-long project he originally envisioned, where the answers he's found in Mongola are inspiring "given the current global political situation and the perceived lack of harmony between many countries of the world."
"This 'wonderful world' of Mongolian jazz that I am lucky enough to be part of has many things to say regarding brotherhood and sisterhood, as does all true jazz," he wrote, "and many people could learn much from the way musicians from different cultures and countries can come together and make one musicoften without rehearsal or pre- discussionand always, always, with the spirit of cooperation and the determination to produce something greater than the sum of its parts."
- Nine full-length MP3 songs with Mongolian themes by the German group Boerte.
- "Ayanii Shuvuud" by pianist Bob Bellows, featuring a number of Mongolia's most notable musicians.
- "Manan," a Mongolian smooth jazz recording.
- A live four-minute Mongolian music improvisation featuring two throat singers and traditional instruments, recorded Aug 13, 2006.
- A two-minute tsor flute solo.