Sinica Podcast: David Moser and Jess Meider riff on jazz in China


This week’s Sinica Podcast is now live: Listen to it now!

On March 13, the Sinica Podcast returned to the city where it all began — Beijing — for a live show as part of the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival. It was good to be home: You’ll notice the prolonged and decidedly raucous cheer at the start of the show — no live audience does it better than the one at The Bookworm. SupChina Asia managing editor Anthony Tao was in the host chair to talk to David Moser and Jess Meider about jazz in China.

Moser — no stranger to longtime Sinica listeners — is associate dean at the Yenching Academy at Peking University, but his true passion is jazz. He studied music as an undergrad in the U.S. before moving to China, where he happened upon a band at a place called Maxim’s in 1993. You’ll need to listen to the podcast to get the rest of the story. Other highlights include his explaining of swing (11:25), retelling of particular adventures translating for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (22:30 mark), and what makes for good jazz (31:45 — including a Charles Mingus anecdote, featuring one of the three times we had to press the bleep button on Moser).

Jess Meider has spent more than two decades singing in China, and can still be seen (and heard) around Beijing. She was previously the resident jazz artist at East Shore Jazz Club and booker/resident artist at Chao Hotel. She’s worked with Cui Jian, the father of Chinese rock ‘n’ roll, and voiced a part in his movie Blue Sky Bones. She talks about that experience just before the 19-minute mark. Also listen to what she has to say about playing with Chinese musicians (30-minute mark) and her thoughts on the future of jazz in China (39:45).

The entire episode is a hoot and we hope you enjoy it. Be sure to stick around for the musical performance at the end.

POSTSCRIPT: This is the song Moser and Tao reference at the end, in case it’s not obvious:

Listen now to: Live from Beijing: David Moser and Jess Meider on jazz in China

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