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Dream Improvisation: An Interview with Coco Zhao

Christopher Lee

Published: 2008-12-04

As one of the relatively few Chinese singers on the international jazz circuit, Coco Zhao (Zhao Ke) has garnered much attention and acclaim in the last few years. His performances have been acclaimed for their blending of Eastern and Western musical styles. This interview explores the social and historical contexts for Zhao's performance, his view on contemporary music cultures in China, his reception in the West, his understanding of how sexuality intersects with improvisation, and how questions of identity animate his career and creativity.

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Improvisation is, simply put, being and living this very moment. No one can hide in music, and improvising in music is to be truly in this very moment and being completely yourself, with all your qualities and faults. It is probably the most honest state for a human being to be in.

– John McLaughlin in an interview with Daniel Fischlin.