Alec Haavik formed his Shanghai-based band Friction Five upon touching down in Shanghai in 2005. His weekly performance at JZ, the hippest jazz club in one of the most watched cities in the world, has been an ever-evolving musical adventure. “Ye Shanghai” represents the first two years of this adventure, and demonstrates the energy and flair of this band. Haavik’s original compositions tell many stories: from the birth of his son, in “Oxytocin in the Tundra”, to a portrait of the open road, in “Cruise Control”, to a restaurant of transmaterialization, in “Exotic Wall Burger”. And there is a shocking collection of Frictionized cover tunes as well, including a 1930's Chinese pop song, and songs by the artists Diana Ross, Led Zeppelin, and... Kenny G!
Notes on the tracks:
Ye Shanghai - The ultimate anthem to Shanghai nightlife! This song was
written in 1942 for a Chinese movie musical. The original recording, sung by
the Chinese diva Zhou Xuan, was a big hit – and featured a strong jazz
influence in the orchestration.
Cruise Control - A tune about driving a big car on a big empty highway
somewhere in America. Just set the speed, take your foot off the gas pedal,
and cruise... Enjoying the scenery and listening to classic rock on the radio,
you might find yourself slipping into another state of consciousness -- Wake
up! And keep on cruisin'…
Exotic Wall Burger - Imagine a restaurant where any food you dream of will
materialize, from the walls, onto your plate. Up on stage, a hungry young horn
player layers the walls with an "Exotic Wallpaper" of sound. Maybe he's waiting
for the wall to produce his burger? Or maybe this tune just cannot be
The 42 Bus - A city bus on a Sunday afternoon, a slow-paced trip that seems
to never end. I originally wrote the tune in Seattle, but re-wrote it after moving
to Shanghai. The tune now documents a bus trip from the Bund, where I was
working at a jazz club, back to my home in the French Concession.
Upside Down - When this Diana Ross hit came out, I was 6 years old. It
captivated me! I would keep the radio on all night, hoping to hear it again.
Nothing like a major pop hit with an entire verse that is displaced by two beats.
Oxytocin in the Tundra - The musical portrait of the birth of my son Kai. During
the nervous last few weeks of my wife's pregnancy, I found myself strumming
these opening guitar chords over and over. After her due date came and went,
we decided to move things along and create some oxytocin (the "love hormone").
It was a cold February night in Shanghai, and our apartment, with leaky windows
and no central heating, was like a campground in the frozen tundra.
Kai's Blues - When my son Kai was 9 months old, we took a family trip to
Beijing. We climbed the Great Wall, and when we reached a high summit, I
played my soprano saxophone to all of China. On the way back down, Kai
practiced walking, and when we got back to the hotel room, he started talking!
When he went, "Wa wa wa," I grabbed my soprano to have a musical conversation.
I wrote the tune in about a half-hour.
Four Sticks - This is Friction Five's rendition of a song by my all-time favorite
rock band, Led Zeppelin. The original drummer John Bonham played the song
with four drumsticks – two in each hand! This tune has a very interesting time
signature – 5/4 time alternating with 6/4, which is a lot of fun for improvising.
Going Home - Since I arrived in China, people have said, "Oh, you play the
saxophone – can you play 'Going Home?'" In Shanghai, you can hear this tune
everywhere -- piped in through hidden speakers in public parks; used as a signal
for a transfer station in a subway line; and even played in the Immigration queue
at Pudong International airport. The title has special relevance to the millions of
Chinese people who work in Shanghai and return to their hometown only once a
year, at Chinese New Year, a trip often involving a 30- or 40-hour train ride.
– Alec Haavik, July 6, 2008
夜上海（陈歌辛）一首关于上海夜生活的精萃歌曲！这首歌作为一部中国电影插曲创作于一九四二年。由中国著名女歌手周旋演唱的原唱版风靡一时 - 并在管弦乐编曲上以强烈的爵士影响为特征。
恒速 (阿雷克) 这首曲描绘的是在美国某地空旷的高速公路上驾驶一辆大型汽车。只要设定速度，脚从踏板挪开，进入恒速行驶...在欣赏路边美景的同时享受着广播中传统摇滚乐， 你可能会不知不觉地进入到另外一个知觉世界。快醒来！ 继续享受美景和音乐...
神秘的墙壁汉堡 (阿雷克) 想象一家提供所有你理想食物的餐厅， 从食物加工到放入你的盘中，都是来自于墙壁。在舞台上，一位饥饿的年轻管乐器表演者把一张声音“神奇墙纸“贴在墙上。他像是在等待墙壁给他制作的汉堡？或许这首曲子的意境根本就没法描述！
颠倒(Nile Rogers) 这首Diana Ross 问世时我才六岁。我当时着迷死了!我会整晚的开着广播，希望能再听一遍。像这种变位两拍的完全"B段"的主流行乐感觉是很独特的。
冻原的摧产素 (阿雷克) 我儿子恺出生的音乐描述。在我爱人怀孕漫长的最后几周， 焦急等待中的我发现自己在不停的拨动着吉它琴弦。她的分娩期时来时去，之后我们决定加快步伐创造一些催产素（“爱的激素")。二月里的上海晚上特别冷，在我们的公寓里窗户是漏风的，又没有中央暖气，这时候屋里简直就像一个冰冻了的营地。
《恺》布鲁斯(阿雷克) 在我儿子九个月大的时候， 我们一家人去北京旅游。我们爬上了长城，当我们到达一个烽火台时，我用萨克斯给中国的大好河山演奏了一曲。 恺在下长城的路上练习走路，当我们回到酒店房间时，他居然开始说话了！他说"哇哇哇"时, 我拿起我的高音萨克斯与他对话。不到半小时我写下了这首曲子。
四根棍子 （Jimmy Page and Robert Plant) - 一首由磨擦乐队演奏的来自我一直最崇拜的Led Zeppelin摇滚乐队的曲子。此曲得名于鼓手John Bonham 在表演时用了四根鼓棒 - 一只手两根。这首曲有着非常有趣的节拍 - 五拍和六拍的交替 - 那也是即兴创作极大乐趣所在。
回家 (肯尼吉) 自从来到中国，人们会问 我, “噢,你吹萨克斯 - 那你能吹“‘回家’吗?”在上海，这首曲子随处可听 - 公园里通过隐藏音响播放的广播音乐；地铁中转站的一种信号音乐；甚至浦东国际机场移民排队中所播放的背景音乐。歌名与这些成千上万在上海工作的中国人有着特别紧密地联系，因为他们每年仅在春节返乡一次，而且还需乘坐行程长达几十个小时的火车。
- 阿雷克, 2007年7月6日