|Shanghai Restoration's self-titled 2006 album incorporates traditional Chinese instruments.(China Daily)|
A Chinese-American embraces Shanghai's historic take on his jazz music. Kelly Chung Dawson reports from New York.
In 1935, the notorious Shanghai gangster Du Yuesheng ordered the composer and musician Li Jinhui to create the first all-Chinese jazz group, the Clear Wind Dance Band.
As early as 1927, Li had been experimenting with "Sinofied jazz", merging Western big-band sounds with chord and meter variations on traditional Chinese folk instruments.
Clear Wind played to boozy backroom crowds and was perceived by many as a form of cultural corruption. The music was almost immediately labeled "pornographic" and was later entirely banned in China.
Shanghai jazz had only a brief heyday, but Dave Liang, former Bad Boy Records producer and founder of the electronica group Shanghai Restoration Project, was deeply inspired when he first heard the music on a trip to Shanghai's Peace Hotel 15 years ago.
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