Jazz in Taiwan
A talk with Shawna Yang

Aug 7, 2017
During our recent travel to Taiwan we met Shawna Yang (楊曉恩); the very talented saxophone player just released the album Memories Of T with a sino-japanese quartet.
> Iug Mirti

Why did you choose to study jazz? Where did you study? And why did you decide to study saxophone?
I chose to study jazz when, as a senior high student, I was amazed by it. I learned classical piano when I was very young. To be a musician has always been an option in my life, and I am happy I finally made it.
I also began to play saxophone in the wind ensemble in high school. I think saxophone and jazz are important to me since when I was young. That’s why I was chasing jazz from then, and finally I made it to attend the Berklee College of Music.
Your first record was Simple Life and was recorded in the US with Lou Rainone, Wei Sheng Lin and Seiji Ochiai, with many standards and a few original tracks. Your newest one is called Memories Of T, with a Taiwanese/Japanese line-up. Which are the differences between the two records?
Actually, Simple Life is my second album. My first solo album is The Journey Of A Bird, but the production was not fully under my control.
However, Simple Life is my first solo album, where I was able to decide everything.
Memories Of T is an album played by the band “Twin City Quartet” and produced by Japanese drummer Takeshi Sakamoto and bassist Daiki Yasukagawa.
I would say the most different part are the mixing and mastering. Japanese mixing is just like their culture: colourful and bright. American mixing is just like American culture: simple and concrete. I think that’s the most interesting part to me.
How did Twin City group meet?
We met through the Japanese drummer Takeshi Sakamoto who is located in Taipei now.
How do you work on compositions and arrangements?
Memories Of T has eight songs. Each of us composed two songs for it.
I usually like to think about what kind of philosophy or emotion or story I want to talk about, and then I start to compose.
Of course, I also like to listen to other musicians’ ideas, and try to use any elements I like.
Which are your next projects? Will you play in US and Europe?
Yes, I am going to play on a tour in Europe in August 2017. The project is called “Simple Tour”.
I am going to play with the Swedish jazz group “Musicmusicmusic” in Sweden, and “Tuesday Microgroove” in Austria. I am looking forward to it!
Which is the dream you would like to come true?
I think my dream is to find out how far my music can go. I feel I want to do a lot of things and dig more into myself. Playing with different musicians from different countries and cultures and ages brings a lot of inspiration to me. I enjoy it, and I hope I can always do more of it.

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