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Kerong Chok

When people think of Singapore - the small island, city-state in Southeast Asia - images of a well-ordered, literate, socially disciplined, technologically advanced, multicultural entrepot easily come to mind. Musically, the country is known for its brilliant classically trained prodigies. Now there's another great musical talent coming from that part of the world - jazz organist, composer, and bandleader Kerong Chok. He's a graduate of the distinguished Manhattan School of Music and has played with a number of jazz stars including Frank Wess, Steve Wilson, and John Riley. On Good Company, his debut recording as a leader, this innovative organist delivers ten original compositions in an engaging, impassioned quintet featuring Brubeck Institute graduate, tenor/soprano saxophonist/flutist Lucas Pino, the Parisian, New School alumnus guitarist Michael Valeanu, and fellow MSM alumni, trumpeter Matt Holman, and drummer/percussionist Jake Goldbas. The leader and his simpatico sidemen are informed by classic artists in the sixties Blue Note Records mode, particularly Larry Young's 1966 masterpiece, Unity. "Young is huge," Chok says. "I listened to that record so much. There's a certain intensity in the music he plays that is so natural, and so appropriate... Like Coltrane, he reflects the emotional connection he has to the music. I first heard him when I was getting interested in the organ. I heard about Jimmy Smith first, and then I heard about Larry Young and a recording that had Joe Henderson and Elvin Jones on it. I went to HMV every week and asked for Unity, and it would never be there, but one day I found a Japanese import and took it home, and it was one the most amazing things I ever heard." Chok's fleet-fingered, adventuresome styling distills the best of Young's pioneering organ sound into equally provocative and propelling music, tailor made for the twenty-first century. "I was writing music on a regular basis, taking note of pieces that would potentially work as part of an album or live set," Chok says, "and also waiting for the right band to come along. I wanted to make this more about the ensemble and the compositions. It was about everybody working as a team, presenting the compositions like songs as opposed to a 'blowing' session." On this album, Chok's nod to Young is aurally evident on the sizzling opener "Black Ice," inspired by the hidden patches of ice one walks and drives over in winter, which the leader metaphorically makes manifest.

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Album Review

Kerong Chok: Good Company

Read "Good Company" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Though still in his twenties, pianist/keyboardist/composer Kerong Chok has been one of the bright young stars on Singapore's jazz scene for a decade. He stepped into the limelight as co-writer, arranger and deft accompanist on singer Rani Singam's Contentment (Inflexion Lines, 2011), and here makes his full debut as leader, on a Hammond organ-flavored set that evokes the instrument's '60s heyday and the classic Blue Note albums of that era. Nostalgic, perhaps, but these ten tracks are striking originals, and ...

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"Here is no-nonsense jazz pulled like taffy from the sticky pot of 1960's classic jazz celebrity." - www.lajazz.com

"Even though he rates as one of Singapore's most exciting young jazz keyboardists, it's taken Chok Kerong nine years to come up [with] his debut album. But what an album it is...Get this and you'll realise that you're really in good musical company indeed." - Today

"...lyrical, funky, and aggressively inventive but tastefully restrained whenever the music calls for a soft touch." - Business Times

"Good Company is a terrific debut." - New Straits Times

"...plays the hammond b-3 organ with stylish bravura..." - Straits Times

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Good Company

Kerong Chok


Good Comapny

Kerong Chok



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