117

Jo-Yu Chen Trio: Incomplete Soul

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Taiwanese-born pianist Jo-Yu Chen is going somewhere. The cover photo of her Incomplete Soul shows the artist in the back seat of a car, gazing at an indeterminate distance, with a look of quiet, unyielding determination on her face. Her journey with this recording is one of a melding of her classical influences with the improvisational aspect of jazz, and to an extent an East/West blend of sound. She begins with her original, "The Wandering Songstress," opening with the eerily voice-like cry of the Chinese ehru, a two-string violin. The wandering strings give way to the piano trio, and the sedate intro mutates to a prickly and audacious momentum that leans out over the edge before a closing shift into a drifting piano reverie.

Chen is not a cautious artist. More than any other format except for solo piano, the art of the piano trio is one in which the personality/artistic vision of the leader can't help but rise up unadorned. Chen hasn't let her classical background constrain her: "Chess 1" slides back and forth between reverie and adventure over some inspired drum work from Tommy Crane, who punctuates the steady foundation with which bassist Christopher Tordini augments Chen's percussive angles.

The title tune searches, with Tordini's big notes bouncing off Chen's succinct phrases, while "Improv 1" flies out over the edge, the trio bursting into flight in a fractured and fractious mood that coalesces into a tranquil fadeout.

The Chen-penned "Love Letter" opens with a five-note bass declaration that sets the stage for a somber mood which sounds like love of the wistful or unrequited kind, while "Tipsy Cat" has the jauntiness, bravado and devil-may-care attitude of incipient intoxication.

The compositions on Incomplete Soul are mostly Chen's. She has a gift for a memorable melody and true voice of her own, and writes a killer rock song with "Follow Me." Hers is, indeed, a piano voice to follow.

Track Listing: Wandering Songstress; Chess; Incomplete Soul; Improv 1; Black Forest; Love Letter; Tipsy Cat; Departure; Improv 2; Dreamer; Follow Me; Improv 3; Red Bean.

Personnel: Jo-Yu Chen: piano; Christopher Tordini: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Andy Lin: erhu (1).

Title: Incomplete Soul | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sony Music


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Just Friends" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "2016" CD/LP/Track Review 2016
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks" CD/LP/Track Review Marching Song Volumes 1 & 2 Plus Bonus Tracks
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 31, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.