All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Hyeseon Hong: EE-YA-GI (Stories)

Troy Dostert By

Sign in to view read count
With her rich, engaging debut release, EE-YA-GI (Stories), composer Hyeseon Hong brings her own unique approach to contemporary jazz. Using a first-rate large ensemble to showcase her compositions, she takes traditional folk forms, particularly from her native Korea, and develops them with modern big-band jazz voicings. The result is an eminently listenable and enjoyable recording, one that reveals new nuances and subtle pleasures with each encounter.

The album's opener, "Harvest Dance," captures Hong's modus operandi perfectly. With a simple Korean melody and rhythm at its core, the piece takes on its distinctive shape through Hong's use of the band to expand upon the piece's theme, as the multiple layers reveal new dimensions of the tune as it unfolds. The wordless vocals of E.J. Park also lend depth to the track, as do the vigorous solos provided by trombonist Ron Wilkens and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen—the latter one of the two guest musicians given special billing on the album (the other being tenor saxophonist Rich Perry). Although the folk melody of "Harvest Dance" never recedes, the piece is unmistakably jazz-based, with the rhythm team of bassist John Lenis and drummer Mark Ferber keeping the music rooted in a gentle, swinging groove. "Boat Song" is another piece which delves directly into Hong's Korean influences, with a traditional vocal part from Subin Park that lends a poignant quality to the piece's beautiful melody, and which also features Perry on an expansive, tour-de-force solo.

But Hong's versatility isn't limited to what she can do with traditional Korean musical forms, as other tracks highlight additional influences. Guitarist Matt Panayides provides some punchy power chords to anchor the upbeat, driving theme of "Friends or Lovers," with Matt Vashlishan joining in on EWI to give the track an even more contemporary feel, while the subtle Bossa Nova rhythms of "Para Mi Amigo Distante" are infectious in supporting another of Hong's lovely melodies. And for the record's quirkiest tune, the delightfully titled "Trash Digging Queen (Story of Nica, the Dog)," Hong's catchy arrangement uses the entire band to great effect in providing plenty of mirth and energy.

An excellent debut recording from an artist who should remain on the radar of all lovers of contemporary big-band music, Hong's EE-YA-GI is a keeper.

Track Listing: Harvest Dance; Friends or Lovers; Para mi Amigo Distante; Boat Song; Disappearing into Foam; Trash Digging Queen; Love Song.

Personnel: Hyeseon Hong: composer, arranger, director; Augie Haas: trumpet; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet; Jason Wiseman: trumpet; Colin Brigstocke: trumpet; Ben Kono: alto, soprano sax, flute; Matt Vashlishan: alto, flute, EWI; Rich Perry: tenor sax; Jeremy Powell: tenor sax, clarinet; Andrew Hadro: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Ron Wilkens: trombone; Daniel Linden: trombone; Ric Becker: trombone; Becca Patterson: trombone; Matt Panayides: guitar; Broc Hempel: piano; John Lenis: bass; Mark Ferber: drums; E.J. Park: vocals; Subin Park: vocal (4).

Title: EE-YA-GI (Stories) | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: MAMA Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Gegenschein" CD/LP/Track Review Gegenschein
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Motion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Last Minute Panic" CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Night Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 12, 2018
Read "Clareia" CD/LP/Track Review Clareia
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 9, 2018