I Am Not A Virus Liner Notes

(All Tracks Composed by Jordan VanHemert unless otherwise specified)

1. The Path Ahead

The Path Ahead is based on the Wayne Shorter quote "Play and write music the way you want the world to be." It represents how we react to the changes that come with the future but also how we are to move forward with our convictions of creating a better world. 

2. Autumn Song

Autumn Song is a composition that I wrote to depict the trees outside my office window at Hope College. It is still my favorite season, but this song is symbolic of the simultaneous beauty of the season and the fact that the leaves change because they are preparing to be dormant.

3. I Am Not A Virus

The title track I Am Not A Virus is a response to the age of COVID-19 Racism against Asian-Americans and our perpetual foreigner stereotype—that when people look at us, they always see foreigners, no matter how long one has resided in the United States. 

4. Justice For The Unarmed

Justice for the Unarmed (BLM) expresses my anger about the killing of unarmed black individuals, namely George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. 

5. The Moment

The Moment is about being in the present. Time is precious and fleeting. 


6. Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility is a composition that.I wrote shortly after seeing the movie Interstellar. I remember thinking about how small and insignificant our human lives are—just a blip on the continuum of eternity. It makes our problems feel so small that the only response is to live in peace and harmony together, which is the emotion I wanted to portray in this composition.

7. 아리랑 Arirang Interlude (Korean traditional, arr. by Jordan VanHemert)

A brief and intimate interlude links Sea of Tranquility with the final track of the album: 

8.아리랑 Arirang (Korean traditional, arr. by Jordan VanHemert)

아리랑 (Arirang)Arirang expresses what it means to me to be Korean-American. In its jazz reharmonization, the piece is distinctly an American interpretation, yet I have preserved the distinctly Korean melody. The arrangement closes with the saxophone and piano interpreting the melody of 아리랑 Arirang in a much simpler harmonization based on the idea of 한 (Han), or a deep emotion of longing. Not only is this the mood of 아리랑 (Arirang), but it is this emotion—difficult to express in Korean or English—which brings the entire album together.

I Am Not A Virus Personnel

Jordan VanHemert - saxophone

Rob Smith - trumpet

Lisa Sung - piano

Kazuki Takemura - bass

Andy Wheelock - drums

Recorded at Hope College Studios on July 16 and 17 by Drew Elliot

Mixed by Drew Elliot

Mastered by Rich Breen, Dogmatic Sound

Album Art by McCoy Khamphouy of Digital KoiFish Studios