Kang Tae Hwan
Stirrings (1994) Performing “live” in Seoul, Korea
Ancient Lands/ Ancient Peoples (1994)
Korean free saxophonist born in 1944 in Seoul, Korea. In elementary school he began playing clarinet, later, while attending art high school, he started on the alto saxophone. In 1978 he formed a free jazz trio and developed experimental improvisations.
“Korean free saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan formed his first free jazz trio of experimental improvisations, demonstrating powerful technical skills and a unique voice on the sax; a long-overdue distillation of his music.”
An extraordinary saxophone player, Hwan is one of the grandfathers of the Korean musical avant-garde after the late taepyongso/hojok player Kim Seok Chul, with whom he collaborated.The great achievement of the Kang Tae Hwan trio (active from 1978 to 2004) was its marriage of a cosmpolitan openness with traditional Korean shamanism, touring outside Korea and working alongside Western musicians. The group’s stature can be measured in part by the fact that they remain the only experimental musicians to perform at a major Korean cultural event, the 1988 Seoul Olympics, riding high on an initial wave of Democratic reforms that would quickly peter out into the original status quo. Korean experimentalists returned underground, recording very little – but, strangely, not particularly caring one way or another who heard their music.