Korean, Berklee-educated singer Young-Ae Jung has a very specific vision for the jazz she wishes to make. The original pieces are of the same "grown-up" variety, as singer Louise Van Aarsen
populated her fine recording Destiny
(Self Produced, 2012). Jung's imagery has completely matured. The standards with which the singer peppers the originals on her début recording The Man I Love
meld well in the overall repertoire provided.
Jung assembles her band with fellow Berklee graduates and faculty, a trumpet-fronted quartet that complements well the singer. Fully virtuosic but disciplined enough not to overpower the singer, the band lays out a spare and creative accompaniment for Jung in the same way Mercedes Nicole
's format did for her on Beautiful Alignment
(Self Produced, 2013). Such sensitivity in format and arrangements best showcases the vocalist and is admirably accomplished here.
The disc opens with a Jung original, "A Rainy Autumn Day In Boston." Jung's solidly alto voice passed through her Korean heritage is reminiscent of that of Edith Piaf
, giving the piece that "street" sound Piaf popularized. Charlie Chaplin's "Eternally" is a welcome sound, not nearly as oft recorded as "Smile." Jung takes full advantage of Chaplin's sepia images buoyed in a lilting waltz time. Pianist Douglass Johnson plays with clarity and intent, having a special affinity for melody.
Of special interest on the recording is the Korean pop song, "You, So Far Away," presented in both English and Korean. The song won great popularity in the 1970's and serves as perfect ballad material here. A vocal exercise assignment from Berklee, "YAJ's Bop" is a knockout, capturing Jung's grasp of phrasing and time. This is a talent that will bloom beautifully.
Personnel: Young-Ae Jung: vocals; Douglass Johnson: piano; Greg Feingold: double
bass; John Wood: drums; Takeshi Obayashi: trumpet.