Article by Devidyal
I live and breathe music. I have a hard time picking favorites of anything but my two favorite genres are classical and jazz.
I lived in Xi’an for over a year before I knew there was a concert hall and I have since gone to almost every performance from the symphony orchestra, to the opera, to traveling acts, so my classical music fix was somewhat sated. However, the one thing I have been asking for since arriving in Xi’an two years ago is live jazz. I get all kinds of responses and they range from laughter to “oh yeah, there’s a place but I don’t know where it is.”
After years of disappointment, about two months ago, when I was at DJMT with a friend of mine, a girl came in and said she had just come from the new jazz bar. It was just down the street and tonight was opening night. I was tempted to go but hesitated.
One month ago as I was scrolling through my moments a girl I don’t know well posted that she was going to the jazz bar and asked if anyone wanted to join her. I almost didn’t go but I decided to give the place a chance. I had very low expectations but I went. I was wrong! The music was great! And it’s a real jazz bar. Their drinks are high quality as well.The musicians began to play at about 9:00. They played for hours. I made myself go home at 4:00AM.
Earlier that day drummer Dennis Chambers, a pretty big name in the drumming world, had taught a master class in Xi’an. In the late 70’s and early 80’s he was in Parliament/Funkadelic, then he played with the John Scofield Band and has since played with many of the big names in jazz and even Santana.
I had no idea names like that came to Xi’an. For two years I have been begging everyone I knew to help me find music to no avail. It turns out it’s been here the whole time, they just don’t do a very good job of advertising to us in the foreigner’s box and I had never met the right locals.
From what I can tell the Xi’an jazz scene is completely run by this one guy named Dong Yao (董耀). He is the owner of the jazz bar and organizer of the jazz shows that come through town. Jazz shows with world-class musicians! Just this past month, there were jazz musicians from Russia, the United States, Japan, and China in town for the Meeting Jazz Festival.
Dong Yao also organizes other live shows on a regular basis. This is where my own music snobbery is about to come out but well…Smooth Jazz is popular here. Kenny G will be here live in concert on September 13th. While seeing Kenny G in concert is about as appealing to me as having a tooth removed with nothing but a pair of pliers it still goes to show the level of performers coming to Xi’an. At this point it is not confirmed if Kenny G will be teaching a recorder class to the local children to prepare them for the World Wide Recorder Concert.
The jazz bar is called Meeting Jazz and it is in the same location as the old Zoo Bar near Zhuque Gate. If jazz is what you’re looking for, I suggest Saturday nights. They have live music on Fridays also, but only for a short while. It’s a low-key, chill kind of place to occasionally escape the craziness of Park Qin and 3as4. On the other nights of the week they are open but no live music.
I’m really excited to finally be aware of and involved in the local jazz scene. If you want to be as well, all you have to do is follow Meeting Jazz on We Chat. Everything they send out is in Chinese but if your reading skills are not so good you can still see the name, date, and time. Failing that, we also have a classical and jazz We Chat group you can join where myself and other music lovers in town will have all the details.
Devidyal is everyone’s favorite malcontent. She is a world traveler never content to stay in one place too long and always pleased with herself when she inspires conversation. Her We Chat ID is Devidyal