Coming just a few months after the striking Illusion (Audioguy, 2012)--a vibrant trio recording featuring guest trumpeter Ralph Alessi--pianist Francesca Han's first recorded foray into the world of solo piano reveals a musician in a rich vein of form indeed. Stemming from the Illusion sessions, eight of the ten tracks are the fruit of an impromptu two-hour improvisation, and it's perhaps not surprising that there's a pronounced flow and unrelenting energy about these performances. There's great variation in mood throughout, though the unifying thread--at whatever tempo and intensity--is Han's dynamic, ever inventive two-handed dialog.Han draws from an extensive ...read more
Korea has never been more fashionable, leading the way in technological advances and dictating hair styles, television viewing, eye shape and pop music trends across Asia and beyond. The mindboggling response to singer PSY's song Gangnam Style," with over a billion hits on You Tube, epitomizes the phenomena of the so-called Korean Wave." Fewer people, inevitably, are aware of the depth of Korean jazz talent, amply demonstrated on the essential compilation Into the Light--Korean Music III--Traditional Music and Korean Jazz (KAMS, 2010). And whilst Korean jazz may not make US President Obama, UK Prime Minister Cameron or UN Chief Ban ...read more
Pianist Francesca Han's music contains a certain duality. She's a classical and improvising jazz pianist with one foot in the jazz tradition and the other wedged firmly in the door of contemporary jazz. An established jazz musician in South Korea, Han acquired new vocabulary studying and playing in New York, where she also collaborated with composer Jeff Fairbank's experiment in fusing Korean traditional music with jazz. Though jazz clearly dominates Han's playing, a ghostly classical vein is felt, as is Han's spirit of adventure, resulting in vibrant, arresting music that's always evolving. Hans debut, Francesca Han (Mm ...read more
Various Artists Into the Light: Korean Music III: Traditional Music & Korean Jazz KAMS 2010 Although the differences in beat, rhythm and harmony that separate traditional Korean music and jazz may partially explain why jazz has been approached only relatively recently in Korea, in fact Korean traditional musicians are fundamentally suited to jazz given the large element of improvisation inherent in Korean folk styles. These two CDs offer a tantalizing slice of Korean jazz and improvised music, and represent part of the Korean Arts Management Service's (KAMS) efforts to promote Korean artists ...read more
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