Event Details

WHAT: RASBJ talk and live Jazz session with Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra

WHEN: Sunday December 19, 2021: 4.30-6.00 pm Beijing Standard Time

WHERE: Ponte Restaurant, No 6,E 4th Ring Road. Ponte Restaurant is a destination on GPS, Didi and most other e-hailing services. 北京市朝阳区东四环北路6号滨河花园一区15号楼一层1-06(上东商业广场内)].See also map in this notice.

HOW MUCH: R300 for Members , R400 for non-Members. This price includes 2 free drinks. Numbers are limited to 25. Members, plus 1 guest, have priority until December 14.

Attendees are welcome to come to Ponte from 3.30 pm, and are encouraged to stay on and dine at Ponte, at their own expense, and should reserve at: 65012934


Jazz set the rhythm of Concession life in Shanghai in 1920s. Ah-Q will bring that era back to life, while telling us some of the history of the music and the players.

Jazz was first introduced to China in the 1920s with the advent of the gramophone, and this American musical form quickly captivated Shanghai urban elite culture, attracting avid fans such as Song Meiling (Madame Chiang Kai-shek) and her sister Song Ailing, who frequented the Canidrome Ballroom to dance to the music of American jazz groups such as Buck Clayton and his Harlem Gentlemen. This rise of Shanghai ballroom jazz overlapped with the appearance of the May Fourth "New Culture" movement, which, in addition to its goals of modernizing the educational system and elevating the role of women, also aimed to incorporate Chinese music into the Western musical canon. This agenda was spearheaded by such May Fourth figures as Feng Zikai and Cai Yuanpei, who established the Peking University Music Research Group in 1919. The most important May Fourth figure who combined jazz elements with traditional Chinese music was Li Jinhui, who is known as "the father of Chinese popular music." Influenced by the music of American jazz bands such as those of Whitey Smith and Teddy Weatherford, Li Jinhui attempted to blend Chinese folk traditions with the rhythms and instruments of jazz to create a kind of "sinified jazz." Musicians such as Buck Clayton began to incorporate this approach into their own performances, finding that Chinese audiences responded more positively to jazzed-up versions of familiar Chinese folk music and pop songs. Li Jinhui's fusion of styles eventually enmeshed him in political controversy, as his work was branded as "Yellow Music" by the KMT. Li's music was banned in China after 1949, and he was eventually hounded to his death during the Cultural Revolution.

The presentation will be structured as a talk interspersed with illustrative jazz performances by the Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra, a group based in Beijing.

Ah- Q has agreed to give this special performance for RASBJ , even while its regular performances are suspended.

HOW TO JOIN THE EVENT: Please click "Register" or "I Will Attend" and folllow the instructions. After successful registration you'll receive a confirmation email. If you seem not to have received this, please check your spam folder.


  • David Moser (Speaker)

    David Moser


    David Moser holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan. He has been based in Beijing for over 25 years, active in academic and media circles. Moser has taught at various universities such as the Beijing Foreign Studies University since the 1990s, and was Associate Dean of the Yenching Academy at Peking University from 2017 to 2019. Currently he is Associate Professor at Beijing Capital Normal University. Moser is author of the book A Billion Voices: China's Search for a Common Language, published by Penguin. He currently is co-host, along with Jeremiah Jenne, of a biweekly podcast Barbarians at the Gate, which explores aspects of Chinese history and modern culture. Since the early 1990s Moser has performed on jazz piano with numerous jazz groups, and he is currently pianist for the Beijing-based Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra.

    view more
  • Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra

    Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra

    The Ah-Q Jazz Arkestra, named after the main character in a Lu Xun novel, has been active in the Beijing jazz scene for more than a decade, bringing together an eclectic mix of musicians, styles, and original jazz compositions.

    The members of Ah- Q Jazz Arkestra are:
    Liu Xiaoguang 刘晓光 saxophone, flute
    Matt Roberts 饶猛志 trombone
    David Moser 莫大伟 keyboards
    Da Zhong 大中 bass
    Scott Silverman 司马恺 drums

    view more