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Lao Dan Chicago Quartet

from Hangzhou China

Lao Dan – saxophone, flute

Mabel Kwan – piano

Joshua Abrams – contrabass

Michael Zerang – drums, percussion

Lao Dan ⽼老老丹丹

Lao Danstarted his music career with the saxophone at the age of 8, before taking up the Chinese bamboo flute. In 2007, he was admitted with the highest score to Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), majoring in the bamboo flute. During college, he served as principal flutist of Youth Chinese Orchestra of SYCM.

Instead of pursuing the conventional career path as a professional conservatory flutist inside the “system”, after leaving SYCM, Lao Dan became an independent musician. With his unique understanding of the woodwind instruments through two decades of playing, Lao Dan sticks to his own vision and approach to the Chinese flute and its sounds. Whilst he has exploredvarious world instruments including the xiao, the bawu, the suona, and the duduk, the bamboo flute and saxophone remain his principal commitments. Lao Dan’s playing continues to push the limits of artistic expression on both instruments, exploring the possibilities of free, energetic, and nonconformist ways of sound-makingconfined by neither Jazz nor traditional Chinese musical conventions. His improvisation often brings to the audience an overwhelming sonic experience in which the East and the West, and the ancient and the modern clash dramatically on each other.

In 2018, Lao Dan started performing with multi-instrumentalist Li Daiguo, the duo named themselves “Benbo’erba & Babo’erben” (哔哔哔 哔哔哔, “bBb bBb” for short), after two minions from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Delivering whimsical, improvisation-based music woven together around the backbone of Li Daiguo’s quirky pipa and Lao Dan’s spiritual flute, bBb & bBb take their listeners to a grotesque fairy world which presents a radical but light-hearted re-interpretation of traditional Chinese music. In 2019, the duo released their debut on cassette titled Benbo’erba & Babo’erben at the Old Heaven, a remixed live recording of their performance at the Old Heaven bookstore in December 2018.





Elastic Arts

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(formerly 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
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