We’ve Gone China Crazy

I don’t know if I will have room for all these China stories (George!) in this weekend’s linkfest. On the likely chance I don’t, here’s a broad overview of many interesating  articles about the fastest rising global economic power:


China’s unbalanced economy:
In any ordinary economy, a triple-barrelled announcement of the kind
issued by China’s central bank on Friday evening might have made more
of an impression. With an eye to today’s top-level US-China meeting in
Washington, the People’s Bank of China tightened lending and eased
controls on
its currency, policy prescriptions that touch all their host’s concerns
about Beijing’s seemingly unstoppable export-driven economy. (FT)

China’s Very Strange Decade

The China Solar Hotbed: Chinese solar-power companies are descending on U.S. stock
markets, offering investors a new way into one of the fastest-growing corners of
the renewable-energy industry. But things aren’t all sunny. The latest frenzy over Chinese solar stocks was in evidence last
week, when Nanjing-based China Sunergy Co. made its debut on the Nasdaq Stock
Market, rising 51% in its first day of trading on Thursday. Its shares were up
46 cents, or 3.19%, to $14.90 yesterday, giving the company a market value of
about $570 million.
(Wall Street Journal)

Why China Relaxed Blogger Crackdown  (free Wall Street Journal)

Yuan Isn’t the Cause of U.S. Trade Deficit, Wu Says: The yuan isn’t the cause of the U.S. trade deficit and a “large” appreciation would hurt China’s economy, Vice Premier Wu Yi said, signaling the nation won’t cave in to demands for faster gains.   (Bloomberg)

Tainted Chinese Imports Common:
Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.Frozen catfish
laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with
putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides. These
were among the 107 food imports from China that the Food and Drug
Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents
reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary
supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.
(Washington Post)

Pao Mo’: That’s Chinese for Bubble

Day trading in China is out of control. “Despite an interest rate rise on Friday aimed at cooling
the market, retail investors ignored the messages from Beijing and
opened 287,000 trading accounts on Monday, 35,000 more than on Friday.
The explosion in day-trading has created some unintended consequences
in Shanghai in the form of  unwashed dinner dishes, badly ironed
shirts, and dusty floors. In recent weeks the city has developed a
shortage of ayis, the domestic helpers who do chores in the homes of
middle-class families, because some have found more gainful employment playing the market.” (FT)

China’s Thirst for Oil and Cancer treatments

Stock-buying fever grips China:
A total of 4.79 million new A-share trading accounts were opened in
April, 853,500 more than the combined total for the previous two years,
according to statistics from the China Securities Depository and
Clearing Corporation. On Tuesday, the first trading session after the
week-long May Day holiday, nearly 370,000 A-share accounts were added,
almost half of the number for the whole year of 2005. (China Daily)

Chinese Investors Crunching Numbers Are Glad to See 8s:
Part superstition and part self-fulfilling prophecy, numerology is a
basic trading strategy in China. The philosophy reflects the widespread
belief in Chinese society that numbers contain clues to good fortune.
It is a little noticed force adding fuel to a roaring market in the
world’s fourth-biggest economy. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index
is up 56% this year and quadruple its level at mid-2005, a spike that
is raising concerns about an investment bubble. (Wall Street Journal)

Category: Weblogs

Friday Evening Jazz: Oscar Peterson

Exclusively_for_my_friends_box_setTonite’s guest host for FNJ is a music insider. Although he is known better for many of the newer acts he represents, he is, surprisngly enough, a closet jazz aficionado, and therefore must remain anonymous.

Here’s his take on the O-man:

Oscar Peterson has been recording and performing for over half a century. He may also be the most recorded of all piano players. (And he’s from Canada).

Oscar bridged the swing and bop eras, rooting himself in a style that was at the same time stunningly complex yet elegant and soulful.  Nobody used more notes to swing! Oscar is sometimes dismissed because he wasn’t groundbreaking in the way that many of his contemporaries were. But the range of expression he achieved on the piano, and his technical prowess, is hardly rivaled in mainstream jazz.

Trio_2 Many consider his solo recordings of the late 60s and early 70s to be his most outstanding work, but I was always partial to his trio recordings both with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen and later with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson. The live album "The Trio" from 1973 (not to be confused with a Verve release of the same title) is a great recording of Oscar with Pass and Pederson and shows Oscar at his most virtuosic. Check out the Brown Thigpen work live here.

Satch_and_joshFor a
compendium of his 60s work in both trio and solo settings, the
excellent box set "Exclusively for My Friends" will keep you
entertained for years. Of course, there are the standard "songbook"
albums (George Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) and the duets with greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Clark Terry and
Dizzy Gillespie.

Night_trainBut if I had to pick one place to start, and on a
Friday night with your favorite Bordeaux, it would be the 1962 album "Night Train" with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen

It showcases Oscar at his best on both ballads and uptempo numbers and he really shows his blues chops. In particular, note the title track, Bags’ Groove (one the great jazz classics), Moten Swing and Elllington’s great C-Jam Blues. The bonus tracks added to the reissue aren’t particularly special, but don’t diminish Peterson’s brilliance on this record.



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