5

Francis Hon: Before Dawn

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
Francis Hon: Before Dawn
Taiwanese pianist Francis Hon didn't plan on becoming a jazz musician. But, during his doctoral studies in piano performance at the University of Texas, he met Jeff Hellmer, Director of Jazz Studies at the university, and that connection initiated Hon's pathway into the world of jazz—one he further explored during an eventual move to New York to intensively study jazz at NYU. On Before Dawn, his debut trio album, Hon shows that his thorough immersion in jazz has been time well spent.

Joined by veteran drummer Billy Drummond and fellow up-and-comer, bassist Jeong Hwan Park, Hon offers four of his own compositions and three others, Bobby Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem," Alec Wilder and Morty Palitz's "While We're Young," and Michael Jackson's "Stranger in Moscow." With a confident, graceful tone and a smart harmonic sensibility, Hon reveals his ample debt to Bill Evans, the warm romanticism of "While We're Young" making that parallel unmistakable. So, too, does Hon's predilection for waltzes, as three of the pieces utilize a 3/4 time-signature to excellent effect. It helps that Hon's partners Drummond and Park provide rhythmically supple support, with tasteful interjections that don't get in the way of Hon's ideas. Park's nimble basswork is especially worthy of mention, as he generates a good deal of the momentum on "Little B's Poem," where his adroit lines are the perfect complement to Hon's runs. Hon and Park have played together previously in another of Hon's projects, the World Jazz Quintet, and their synchronicity is abundantly evident in their rapport throughout the record.

Although most of the music on Before Dawn fits comfortably in the modern straight-ahead piano-trio vein, Hon does reveal a bit of his interest in other idioms, whether on "Morning Star," an impressionistic solo piece with a classical temperament, or his take on pop music with "Stranger in Moscow," reminiscent of the kind of reworkings pianists like Vijay Iyer and Brad Mehldau have tackled. But while these endeavors may bear more fruit for Hon in the future, for now he seems to find his sweet-spot right in the middle of the jazz spectrum, as his work on the album's title track makes clear. Built around a lovely tune, with Drummond and Park providing that insistent waltz tempo with which Hon thrives, it furnishes the perfect opportunity for Hon to delve deeply into the jazz tradition. And, with his harmonic concept at its most sophisticated, it's the record's best evidence that Hon has a promising career ahead of him in this music.

Track Listing

Little B’s Poem; Blue Moon; Momentarily; Before Dawn; Morning Star; While We’re Young; Stranger in Moscow

Personnel

Produced by FRANCIS HON. Recorded by Tom Tedesco at Tedesco Studios, Paramus NJ, Jan. 26th, 2017 (Track 1-4, 6- 7); Greg Hanson at Dolan Studio, New York NY, Jan. 30th, 2017 (Track 5). Mixed and Edited by Michael Kim, New York NY, Feb. 16th and Mar. 5th, 2017. Mastered by Mike Marciano at Systems Two Recording Studio, Brooklyn NY, Oct. 2nd, 2017. All Compositions by Francis Hon © 2017 except Track 1 by Bobby Hutcherson, Track 6 by Alec Wilder and Morty Palitz, and Track 7 by Michael Joe Jackson. Photography by Josh Goleman. Design by Xi Lu. © 2018 Francis Hon Music. All Rights Reserved.

Album information

Title: Before Dawn | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Francis Hon Music

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Jammin' With KC
Jammin' With KC
Sylwester Ostrowski
Read What Comes Next
What Comes Next
Peter Bernstein
Read A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
Bruno Parrinha/Abdul Moimême/Carlos Santos
Read Suite!
Suite!
Roberto Magris

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.