Autumn in Yunnan: The ReviewsTo post a comment or review, please send via email to Burnett@PianoJazz.com
"Capturing many styles and moods, Burnett’s adaptions and originals takes you on a pleasing trip to the far reaches of China." Louis Scherr, Miami FL
"Thoughtfully reflective and beautifully composed, Autumn in Yunnan will strike up feelings of calm and joy in your heart. I especially enjoyed the soothing energy, which entices me to relax at any time of the day. The songs also have an cheerful quality and is the perfect backdrop for creativity. "Dubem Sarah Aniebonam, Washington, DC
"Burnett’s amazing new album offers a fascinating and personal take on beautiful Chinese melodies- don’t miss it!" Steve Beck, New York City
"The whimsy in Burnett Thompson's arrangement of Chinese folk music is matched only by his flawless playing. Burnett's new CD takes us on a journey to a place we have never been, but want to return to again and again. If you don't get to travel as much as you wish, here is a way to indulge in cultural tourism. Enjoy." Anna Bobb, Great Falls, VA
"Burnett 用他的音乐为我们勾勒了一幅栩栩如生的云南秋日图。其中我最喜欢的曲子是<放马山歌>。熟悉的旋律中Burnett加入了充满冲突色彩的和声，并在乐句停歇时突出这样的声响，好像马蹄和马啸声，使我眼前浮现出万马奔腾的场景。聆听他的<云南秋日>感觉就像透过他的眼睛，看见了云南丰富多彩的生活和文化。" Vivi Hu, Xiamen, China
"A fabulous endeavor to intertwine Western and Eastern Music. Chinese music have always intrigued me after watching a Chinese Opera many decades ago. Mr. Burnett's compositions combine the two sides triumphantly. He uses the piano to convey this mix. One may argue that the piano is a Western instrument, but the Chinese have mastered the keyboard for more than half a century to create pianists that are the best in the world today. Thank you, Mr. Burnett for the chance to hear two worlds made into one and find that they can be at peace with each other." Ito Briones, Washington, DC
"This album features some lovely playing, especially in the first track, “Black Dragon Pool.” A quick contrast appears in the very jazzy and upbeat second track, “Jump to the Moon.” “Dawn in Lijiang” sounds largely improvised, and creates a haunting atmosphere. I particularly like the pentatonic harmony and mood of “Embroider the Purse.” With its broad opening chords, “Stone Forest” evokes Debussy’s “Engulfed Cathedral.” These are just a few of this great group of 17 pieces that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether or not they are familiar with Chinese music. The harmonies are intriguing and there is a nice variety of tempos and styles." Carol W. Payne, Atlanta, GA
"With his most recent CD, "Autumn in Yuman," Burnett Thompson's arrangements and impeccable performance have introduced us to the less familiar sounds of the Far East in a most gratifying way. His music-making, inspired by the traditional and modern world music of China, faithfully recreates some of its folklore while thoroughly entertaining us. I hope to learn and hear more". Jack Porter, McLean, VA
"Autumn in Yunnan by Burnett Thompson evokes images of remote places, full of mystery, feeling and beauty. From the meditative Black Dragon Pool to the energetic Drive the Horses into the Mountains, the tribal melodies of Southwest China interpreted by Burnett Thompson invite the listener to reflect, and enjoy his encounter with the musical traditions of Southwest China." Lilliam Collmann, Arlington, VA
"I have visited Yunnan Province more than 10 times and enjoyed every visit. I love its wonderful diversity of geography, food, art and people. The beauty of wonderful mountain scenes like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Tiger Leaping Gorge to the magic peacefulness of Black Dragon Pond in Lijiang are truly inspiring. The CD brings back memories of everything from the unusual music of the Naxi people to the spirited dances of mountain tribes. I will listen to it often, as I ponder when I can return to Yunnan." Jack Crosby, Vienna, VA
"My wife and I listened to "Autumn in Yunnan" several times during a two-day drive across the Midwest. Burnett Thompson's solo piano will now evoke for me the fields and wind turbines of Indiana, but no matter: it seems to lend itself to all landscapes. His genius for texture, the unexpected, and humor are always worth the trip." Alex Martin, Washington, DC
"Whether we’re listening to the mysterious “Three Pagodas” or the jazzy “Jump to the Moon” we found Burnett’s original compositions and treatment of tribal Chinese melodies, to be both evocative and fun to listen to. With titles such as “Drive the Horses into the Mountains” and “Leaping Tiger” this recording has something for everyone. His playing is beautiful and his technique is impeccable." Beth and Karl Mailand, Annandale, VA
"Burnett's playing is as gorgeous and masterful as ever, and the adaptations and original compositions are evocative and delightful. My wife and I both love the album. I'm only sorry not to have liner notes about the origins or creations of the individual songs." Perry Beider, Washington, DC
“Beautiful piano project by Burnett Thompson...poetic, evocative, playful, creative and with a unique voice. I really enjoyed listening to it.” Daniel Freiberg, New York, NY
"When West meets East and beyond… one of the many aspects of an elaborate and original project by curious, talented and versatile pianist Burnett Thompson can be found in this amazing album. It is the discovery of many instruments - unknown even to a musical person or music-lover- and the listening of an array of sounds producing shimmering and contemplative atmospheres. A true gem. Many thanks.” Cécile Street, Lisbon, Portugal
"In response to your concert performance and the CD, I will quote Cervantes, Don Quixote: 'For the pleasure which strikes the soul must be derived from the beauty and congruity it sees or conceives in those things the sight or imagination lay before it; and nothing in itself deformed or incongruous can give us any real satisfaction.' Well done Burnett Thompson." Dmitri Samoylin, Fairfax, VA
“Burnett Thompson’s “Autumn in Yunnan” combines jazz, improvisation, 21st-century composition, and traditional Chinese folk music in a way I’ve never heard before. His virtuosic piano playing breathes new life into these ancient Chinese melodies and will inspire you to jump on a plane and visit Yunnan to experience more of their unique culture firsthand.” J.P. McShane, New York, NY
"I have listened to the Autumn in Yunnan several times: first, the life performance in a small chamber-like atmosphere, then on the stage in the Decatur House, and then on CD. These short compositions are the amazing blend of Chinese folk music and its jazzy interpretation. Burnett Thompson has found a way to connect us to the very different culture with its unique musical expression." Tatiana Samoylin, Fairfax, VA
"The two words that come first to mind when I listen to Burnett Thompson’s Autumn in Yunnan are joy and mystery. The pieces that comprise his most recent collection reflect his fascination with music as a conversation between and among cultures, with Chinese cultures in particular, and with improvisation as a means of discovery.
Many of the pieces that comprise Autumn in Yunnan are deceptively simple. Black Dragon Pool begins with a quiet melody that gradually shifts and grows, as if we are watching a living thing mature.
Stone Forest takes us somewhere darker, as does the gravely mysterious Bagua Mandala. But joy is here, too, as you might encounter a profound and serious joy in a temple, on a mountaintop or in a jazz hall.
There is also serious play, as in Guessing Game or Drunken Miao Village. As it begins, the former reminds me of the soundtrack for a Laurel and Hardy film. It then rolls over, harmoniously, into a recognizable Chinese tonal vocabulary.
Many of these pieces evoke pictures, a leaping tiger, or a bird flying in and out of a field of flowers. Now you see it, now you don’t. The heavy footsteps of a human being enter the scene, and disappear. Drive the Horses into the Mountains gives us an entire journey. This is not background music. It is most rewarding to sit down, perhaps close your eyes, and listen with your whole self.
I have known Burnett Thompson for nearly 30 years and have always delighted in his work as both a composer and a pianist. Just as you can never step into the same river twice, listening to his music means hearing something new and fresh every time. His life’s work springs from an inexhaustible curiosity, and a distinctive ability to bring joy and mystery to his audience." Beth Joselow, Washington, DC
With his solo album "Autumn in Yunnan" Burnett Thompson bridges the gap between Chinese folk music and improvisation. Brilliantly executed, his arrangements are evocative of Bela Bartok and Eric Satie. Walter Fischbacher, New York, NY
"In a word: spectacular! This is like nothing else you've heard before, a one-of-a-kind take on the culture of Yunnan through the lens of jazz piano. The music is at once perfectly unique and fundamentally accessible. You will be transported to another world, one that is at turns foreign and familiar. Through the musical peaks and valleys you will experience playful and somber moods and many things in between. Enjoy the ride!" Jeremy Jenkins, Edmond, Oklahoma
"Burnett Thompson, a masterful storyteller, takes his listeners on a beautiful journey thru Autumn in Yunnan." M.G., Columbia, MD
"The contemplative, relatively slow progression of related but unique chords is a thrill. They seem to evolve naturally, yet they're so clever that of course they're showing your invention. Beyond the contemplative mode, I like very much one(s) that make me think of Gottschalk and that fun: Guessing Game is one of that sort, also Drunken Miao Village. Flower and Bird Marketplace: terrific, especially paired with Butterflies in the Spring-- Leaping Tiger right after those and one sits up straight. Altogether, the sense of folk music makes it real to me and probably to all, glimpsing a way to live in an attitude that is less foreign, piece by piece. The energy of it takes hold as well, and gives a complete experience. (While I think of it this way, I hark back to John Dewey, Art as Experience: undergoing, having; experience as being alive, etc." Mary Bullock, Arlington, VA
"In one elegant evening, Burnett swept us from the rolling hills of North Carolina to the mystical mountains of Yunnan Province. His original compositions blended ancient Chinese melodies with uniquely American sound and improvisation for an evening of cultural fusion. My advice: Sit back, close your eyes, and be swept away." Katie Loovis, Chapel Hill, NC
"Autumn in Yunnan is brilliant and every track is mesmerizing. It’s difficult to pick a favorite but if I had to choose, it would be Embroider the Purse for its beautiful melodies."R.C., Washington, DC