Home » Jazz Articles » Hyunil Lee: Living Water

Album Review

Hyunil Lee: Living Water


Sign in to view read count
Hyunil Lee: Living Water
Making his recording debut in impressive style, South Korean guitarist Hyunil Lee presents Living Water, a collection of original tunes performed in the straight-ahead tradition with glimpses of bebop, ballads, vocals and a touch of fusion to keep it interesting and varied. Based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Lee attended the Berklee College of Music and has performed in various venues throughout Boston, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles as well as being a fixture in the Dallas jazz scene.

Recorded in Dallas, TX, Lee availed himself of the talent-rich pool of jazz musicians within the Dallas/Fort Worth area and assembled a top-notch quintet of players along with a vocalist in designing a creative set of music that's quite dynamic and fluid. Aided by tenor saxophonist Quamon Fowler on the opening "Walking in the Garden," Lee unleashes remarkably crisp guitar riffs leading the music ably supported by fellow South Korean bassist Young Heo, pianist Colin Campbell and drummer Terence Hobdy delivering a keeper of a piece.

If there's any doubt that this is Lee's album, all one has to hear is how this guitarist takes center stage in all most every tune like "Fortitude," without denying his band mates the space to perform their own solo moments. While the two starter pieces were fairly boppish in nature, the title track is a bit more withdrawn, warmer in nature allowing the leader to display his appreciable skills on the strings playing the gentler side of jazz.

An unselfish player, Lee allows saxophonist the featured role on the light "Secret Place" where Fowler is showcased on the soprano saxophone as Lee provides more of a supporting role with delicate play of his own. The band lets it swing on the lively and perky "Steadfast," one of the many burners found here worth repeated spins. All of the music are originals from Lee except the swinging Fowler-penned "Blues Lee," a fast-paced, blues-tinged number featuring sizzling solos from everyone in the group.

The only vocals of the recording showcases Shaleia Latrice James on an alternate take of Fowler's "Secret Place" serving as the finale tune of the album. There are times when one comes across an unknown artist whose music shines all over, such is the case with guitarist Hyunil Lee, as his first recording effort with Living Water, is a gem of an album sure to make a splash with critics and audiences everywhere. Containing excellent compositions, and superb musicianship, this is one recording deserving of attention.

Track Listing

Walking in the Garden; Fortitude; Living Water; Faithful; Secret Place; Wash Over Me; Steadfast; Blues Lee; Secret Place (Alternate track).


Hyunil Lee: guitar; Quamon Fowler: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Young Heo: bass; Colin Campbell: piano; Terence Hobdy: drums; Shaleia Latrice James: vocals (9).

Album information

Title: Living Water | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album



Jazz Is Dead 14
Henry Franklin
With Grace In Mind
One Of The Others
Taurey Butler
Times Like These
Nica Carrington


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.