Simon C.F. Yu
uitarist Simon C.F. Yu makes a bold statement with his latest release Exotic Species (Chun Fung Simon Yu). A Chinese-born graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Yu would do just fine sticking to standard jazz or fusion music, given his ample chops and harmonic palette. But he goes well beyond those styles on this, his second solo recording. More than another East-Meets-West jazz album, Exotic Species is an ambitious mash-up of experimental jazz, electronica, and eastern influences. Using a combination of fretted, fretless, and quartertone guitars (24 frets per octave), Yu easily switches between western-style jazz lines, and phrases that evoke the sounds of his homeland. Several tracks utilize traditional Chinese instruments (such as the Gu-Zheng and the Xun) and vocals as well.