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Club Jazzda: Seoul's Hidden Gem

Club Jazzda: Seoul's Hidden Gem
Hrayr Attarian By

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One of the hidden gems of the Seoul music scene in South Korea is the Club Jazzda. Located in the youthful Mapo neighborhood, the intimate basement venue has live music every night of the week showcasing young, up-and-coming local talent.

Trumpeter Ye Jung Kim owns this intimate listening room, and sometimes joins the musicians onstage for an impromptu jam session. His clear, burnished tone rose high over guitarist Kyu Ha Kim's earthy groove on a few delightfully deconstructed standards on Monday night, March 23, 2015. The guitarist and his trio filled the rest of this set, the second of the evening, with bluesy, loosely swinging and engaging musical conversation. The relaxed ambience they created contrasted nicely with pianist Sookyung Ahn trio's electrifying and tight group sound.

Ahn dominated the first set of the evening with her stimulating eloquence and the agility that highlighted her improvisations. The flood of spontaneous phrases from her keys resonated in all corners of the small and cozy joint. Indeed, Jazzda's acoustics are perfect, regardless of the audience's seating arrangement or the number of musicians onstage.

This was demonstrated on Saturday night, March 21, when another young pianist, Si Sung Kim had the stage all to himself. Kim tore through several workhorse tunes with Keith Jarrett-esque virtuosity and quiet contemplation.

Except on special occasions such as the Seoul Jazz Wonderland (the last one ran December 5-14, 2014), patrons pay no cover charge at Jazzda. Although this performance hall does not serve any alcohol it does have a variety of coffees, teas and other non-alcoholic beverages on the menu. In addition to nightly shows it also sells albums by local artists, so it may not be a watering hole but is definitely a place to hear and enjoy great jazz from Seoul's current and future stars.

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