Watch a video to celebrate the release of ‘Water Pushes Sand’ the new album by the Australian Art Orchestra and musicians from China’s Sichuan province


Water Pushes Sand is a unique collaboration between the Australian Art Orchestra and musicians from China’s Sichuan province. I saw them perform together at Melbourne’s Art Centre a couple of years ago and it was truly an amazing audio visual experience. At the time I remember thinking that it felt like a true fusion of cultures and approaches, with equal space given to each tradition. You can watch that performance here. It turns out that they recorded an album at the time, and not only has it just been released, but its been nominated for an Aria Award (surely the first time we’ve written these words in this publication) for Best Jazz Album.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“In Water Pushes Sand, composer Erik Griswold and the Australian Art Orchestra team up with all star musicians and performers of Sichuan to create a colourful collage of winds, piano and percussion. The ten-piece big band fuses traditional Sichuan melodies and rhythms with modern jazz improvisation to create a wild intercultural celebration. With dramaturgy and direction from Tamara Saulwick (Pin Drop, Endings, Chamber Made Opera), and video shot on location in Chengdu, Water Pushes Sand evokes the tea-houses, streets, and rivers of Sichuan. On stage the musicians wear the brightly coloured traditional masks of Sichuan Opera as they explore the changing faces of Chinese and Australian Culture.”

Composer Erik Griswold
Australian Art Orchestra and musicians of Sichuan Province
Bamboo flute – Shi Lei
Suona – Zhou Yu
Saxophone – Tim O’Dwyer
Trumpet – Peter Knight
Gu zheng – Zhou Tao Tao
Piano – Erik Griswold
Bass – Sam Pankhurst
Percussion – Vanessa Tomlinson, Zhong Kaizhi, Zheng Shengli
Recorded at Arts Centre Melbourne
Recording engineers – Myles Mumford
Images – Chen Ran
Video design – Scott Morrison

You can find more details and purchase the album here.


About Author

Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.