“Whispering Eurasia,” the first recording of this established ensemble, draws on the aesthetics of Chinese classical music, Japanese improvisation, American-style jazz, and European free improvisation. What the four members of this multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-tradition group have in common is a sensitivity to live, dynamic interactions. Whether working though composed material, conceptual constructions, or complete free improvisation (all of which are represented on Whispering Eurasia), all four sense each others’ thoughts and moods, contributing to and altering musical landscapes in real time.
Throughout their musical lives these musicians share a commitment to crossing musical boundaries. Gunda Gottschalk, who has been central to the Wuppertal improvised music scene, which is in turn the fulcrum of German free improvisation, has studied Chinese music in China, created film music, stage music, and multimedia compositions, and is noted for her collaboration with free-music giant Peter Kowald.
Akira Ando, after absorbing the myriad influences of his native Japan (Sapporo, to get specific), and before moving to Berlin in 1998, lived in New York City for 14 years. There he become a cog in the city’s free jazz scene, recording and working with movers and shakers such as Billy Bang and William Parker.
Xu Fengxia, a graduate of the exacting Shanghai Music Conservatory, has contributed to music ranging from Chinese classical, to rock, to New Music, to free improvisation, including a trio with Gottschalk and Kowald. A master of four Chinese instruments — guzheng, guqin, sanxian, and liuqin — she now focuses on guzheng (a zither that is the Japanese koto’s grandmother), the sanxian (sometimes referred to as the “Chinese banjo,” and the grandfather of the Japanese shamisen), and her own, flexible voice.
Günter Baby Sommer is the bridge that connects these three diverse string instrumentalists. He has been a vital part of the German free-jazz movement since its birth in the 1960s, working with fellow pioneers such as Peter Brötzmann, Alexander von Schlippenbach, and Evan Parker. Sommer is famed for his delicate touch, dramatic statements, and unifying personality, all of which binds the disparate voices of Whispering Eurasia.
Scott Fields, Cologne, May 2010
 Jing Ye Si – erster Gedanke 06:09
 Cubus 02:17
 Stelline 03:40
 Inside – Outside 04:20
 Snack I 01:15
 Qui Ye Luo Ting 07:50
 Snack II 01:38
 Netzbälle 06:15
 Snack III 01:13
 Silenda 03:34
 Snack IV 01:05
 Warabe Asobi 02:13
 Rumba Saxonia 05:31
 Jing Ye Si – zweiter Gedanke 05:23
total time 53:17
Akira Ando (12)
Xu Fengxia (01 | 06 | 14)
Gunda Gottschalk (02 | 10)
Günter Baby Sommer (03–05 | 07–09 | 11 | 13)
Gunda Gottschalk, vilolin
Xu Fengxia, guzheng/sanxian/voice
Akira Ando, double bass
Günter Baby Sommer, percussion