Daxun Zhang

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Pete G, Jun 6, 2003.

  1. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    On Monday night past, I was in the overflow audience at the Richmond ISB Convention recital by this 21-year young bassist. It was one of those performances where virtually the entire audience erupted in a collective gasp as the last note died away. Then followed a five minute standing ovation and multiple curtain calls... People sat on the edges of their seats for almost the entire performance -- other than Daxun's playing, there was hardly the sound of breathing to be heard in the entire hall, mostly full of professional bassists and serious students.

    I've seen Meyer in recital, and Karr playing a concerto, and some other fine bassists, but I've never seen anyone play like this young man. He is, as a friend says, the "real meal deal." Miraculous technique, gorgeous tone, abundant musicality, and an exceedingly warm stage personality.

    He played the Beethoven cello sonata, op. 69; two movie themes he had arranged; a lovely Chinese piece by Yan-Jun Hua (also Zhang's arrangement); and the Carmen Fantasy by Waxman in another of Zhang's own arrangements.

    Sixty minutes of unbelievable performance, and not a piece in the set that was not a bravura, beyond-the-fingerboard, string-crossing, flying-spiccato killer. I was gobsmacked. This was a performance for the ages, though it will go unnoticed except by fellow bassists.

    Daxun is releasing a CD today at the convention, and will be touring major cities soon for recitals. If you get a chance, see him! He is truly amazing.
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Thanks for the headsup, Pete. A Google search shows him winning lots of competitions at a very young age. Let us know about the recording if you hear anything regarding availability.
  3. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    It was sold today at the ISB by Guarneri House out of Grand Rapids, MI. Guarneri is a a bass (and other string) lutherie shop run by Steve Reiley and his family, and Reiley was the producer of the CD. It says on the liner notes that Daxun used a Reiley bow for the recording (and Steve also won the bowmaker competition here at the ISB convention, or so I was told).

    I suspect that the CD will be available through Guarneri House, or at least that they will be able to tell you how to get it. There is no label or catalog number printed on the outside of the CD case.

    I've only had time to listen to the first three cuts: Massenet's Meditation from "Thais"; Le Grand Tango by Piazzolla; and the Chinese piece I mentioned above, which is lovely. The CD also contains the two movie themes played at the recital, plus Shostakovich's Adagio from "The Limpid Stream" and Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen, a real showpiece that has also been recorded by Meyer, among others.

    Speaking of Meyer, I just got back from the show that he and mandolinist Mike Marshall did here in Richmond. (By coincidence, Daxun and his accompanist sat right behind me.) Meyer did not play anything "classical." The show was mostly "newgrass," some Brazilian tunes, and some Irish fiddle music. It was all great fun, in a light-hearted sort of way.
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I agree wholeheartedly with everything said about Zhang, and wish to add that his "stage-presence" was absolutely charismatic as well. Truly a magical musician.

    However, the previous post categorized Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall's performance as "light-hearted". I agree that the music was not "heavy", but I've never heard two virtuosos groove so hard, play so magically off each other, or put across such an original, exciting and flawless sound. I was transfixed, as were many of my friends. But I think a lot of the classical guys didn't "get it", but just were wowed by his technique. Much of the music was improvisational, and played at a level no one else has ever approached, IMHO. And I was NOT an Edgar fan before this show!
  5. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    exciting stuff, wish I were there
  6. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I suspect that Arnold saw a lot of other players displaying improvisational virtuosity at the ISB; I know that I did. In particular, Rufus Reid's set on Tuesday night was amazing. Watching him chain triple stops way up into thumb position was an eye- and ear-opener.

    Even though I'm a classical musician -- and thus perhaps don't "get it" -- I think I can to some degree appreciate improvisational music and its best practitioners. That's likely true for many classical bass players.

    I think I "got" what Meyer was playing. Speaking only for my selfish self, I just wish he had played some Bach. But I'd go out of my way to see Meyer play TV jingles, if that were the show he wanted to put on.
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    No disrespect meant--I just sensed the audience was expecting something else and was disappointed, whereas I was transformed (into an Edgar/Mike Marshall fan).
  8. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Here's the YCA "flier" on the Daxun Zhang recital at 8pm on Tuesday, May 18*at the 92nd Street Y:
    Click on "NY Series" and scroll down to the date.* As you'll see, this is a rather impressive program.*
    Once more, if you've not seen this young man play, you're in for a treat.
  9. bdengler


    Jan 23, 2000
    New Albany, Ohio
    Does DaXuan Zhang use french or german bow?

  10. prelims222


    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    French - He finally got a super nice one last year after playing on whatever for a long time.
  11. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
  12. Chip Boaz

    Chip Boaz

    Apr 23, 2004
    What's the name of the album? I've been looking around, but can't find it anywhere to order - love to get some leads. Thanks
  13. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    You can order it through Guarneri House in Grand Rapids, MI.
  14. puit


    Sep 2, 2005
    Uhm, where can I buy his CD now?
    I can't find anything now...
  15. BrianMcAnally

    BrianMcAnally Guest

    Dec 28, 2008
    Yeah, neither can I!
  16. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I saw him perform in a small performance area at Cerritos Performing Arts Center. Great performance, but there were so many empty seats.

    Here is his official website.

  17. puit


    Sep 2, 2005
    But you still can't purchase his CD anywhere...
    So, any suggestions?!
  18. txstatebass


    May 3, 2007
    Duluth, MN
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings
    E-mail him. He's on faculty at UT in Austin.
  19. chazbox


    Jan 13, 2011
  20. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    He gave a wonderful recital at ISB last week.