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Eunmi Lee: Introspection


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Eunmi Lee: Introspection
Eunmi Lee is a quick learner. The South Korean-born pianist, who now makes her home in New York City, did not become acquainted with or interested in jazz until a friend introduced her to the GRP Records catalogue. That was more than a year after she had received a degree in contemporary piano from the Seoul Institute for the Arts, in 2005. Eager to learn more, Lee came to California in 2007 to take part in an open house at the Musicians Institute but had to return to Korea soon after for financial reasons.

Lee later earned a bachelor's degree in jazz studies from the Maastricht Conservatorium in the Netherlands (2019), and a year later moved to New York City where she received a Master of Music degree in jazz piano from New York University. That led in turn to gigs around the New York area, a friendship with trombonist Alan Ferber, among others, and her splendid debut album, Introspection, so named, she writes, for the "inner observations" that arise in her consciousness... "describing emotions, images and phenomena" that she then translates into music.

While Lee wrote and arranged all of the album's seven attractive themes and plays on all but one ("Suspicion"), she solos on only four. The brooding "Suspicion" was written for strings and features members of that section with bass clarinetist John Ellis. And although no guitarist appears on the personnel list, Vinicius Gomes plays a prominent role on four numbers including the straight-on opener, "Gimmick," and esoteric finale, "Azure," on which he and the strings are front and center. Ferber is present on four tracks but solos (admirably) only on the notably upbeat "Narcissism."

Lee and alto Remy Le Boeuf solo as well on "Narcissism," while Ellis (tenor), Gomes and drummer Ari Hoenig share the honors on "Gimmick," Lee and Ellis (clarinet) on the sultry "5.19," Ellis (tenor) and alto Jon Gordon (making the most of his lone solo) on "Mr. Weird," Lee, Gomes and bassist Matt Clohesy on "Wavelength." While the better part of the music is, well, introspective, it is balanced to some extent by the more animated numbers: "Gimmick," "Narcissism" and "Mr. Weird." In sum, an exemplary debut by the talented Lee who seems destined for wider appreciation. Readers should note, however, that the album's playing time is less than thirty-seven minutes.

Track Listing

Gimmick; Suspicion; 5.19; Narcissism; Mr. Weird; Wavelength; Azure.


Eunmi Lee
Alan Ferber
Tony Kadleck
Remy Le Boeuf
saxophone, alto
John Ellis
saxophone, tenor
Jon Gordon
saxophone, alto
Meg Okura

Album information

Title: Introspection | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: You&Me Music



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