Song Yi Jeon

Song Yi Jeon

Musicians | Instrument: Vocals | Location: Berlin

This girl sings music, and makes it sound upside down!... while it's right side up!

—George Garzone

Updated: June 8, 2024

Born: August 28, 1984

Hailing from South Korea, Song Yi Jeon is a singer and composer who deftly combines modern jazz harmony and odd time signatures with singable melodies that instantly catch the ear of the listener.

She studied classical composition at the University of Music and Fine Art in Graz, Austria, and Jazz vocals at the Music Academy in Basel, Switzerland and Berklee College of Music in Boston, in the US where she developed her unique sound. Through her background in classical composition, she uses her understanding of harmonic structure to create incomparable improvisations.

In 2013, as the inaugural Quincy Jones CJ&E fellow, she studied at the Berklee College of Music where she was also awarded the Billboard Endowed Award.

Song Yi made her Blue Note debut in New York to great acclaim for her mini album release in early 2015, and in 2018 she released her first album Movement of Lives with her Quintet, featuring Vitor Goncalves, Kenji Herbert, Peter Slavov, Jongkuk Kim and Rogerio Boccato. Release concert was held at the Jazz Gallery NYC. In November 2022, Song Yi released her duo album HOME with a Brazilian guitarist Vinicius Gomes by the label of Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music, and received rating of 4.5 by the Downbeat Magazine. Recently Song Yi released an album Solitary Bloom in trio with a Brazilian drummer Pauo Almeida and Italian pianist Lorenzo Vitolo. 

Song Yi has  played at many clubs/festivals including Blue Note NY, the Jazz Gallery NYC, the Falcon, Bimhuis Amsterdam, Opus Budapest, Moods Zürich, Bird’s Eye Jazz club Basel, Jarasum Jazz Festival in Korea, European Jazz Fest in Korea, Offbeat Jazzfestival Basel, and more. She performed with many illustrious colleagues including Guillermo Klein, Bill McHenry, Jeff Ballard, Vadim Neselovskyi, George Garzone, Tiger Okoshi, Alain Mallet, Peter Slavov, Billy Drewes, Simon Shaheen, and many more.

After she moved to Switzerland, she participated in an emerging artist program called “FOCUSYEAR” at the Basel Jazzcampus, performed with Wolfgang Muthspiel, Ambrose Akinmusire, Billy Childs, Ambrose Akinmusire, Julian Lage, Django Bates, John Hollenback, Guillermo Klein, Norma Winstone and more.

Song Yi was recently selected to be part of Rolex Arts Initiative Mentor & Protége 23-24, and as a Music Protégé she will be working closely with five-time Grammy Winner Ms Dianne Reeves. 


  • Rolex Arts Initiative Mentor & Protégé 2023-24 working with Dianne Reeves 


All About Jazz Articles

Album Review

Dominik Schürmann: The Seagull's Serenade

Read "The Seagull's Serenade" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Insularity is a funny thing. With globalization on everyone's mind--one way or another--it is ironic that parochialism affects the fine arts in any important way. It is not as if Pablo Picasso or Gustav Mahler were merely local celebrities. In classical music, composers have long been peripatetic figures--think of G.F. Handel, as likely regarded as British as he was German. And celebrated figures are nothing today, if not international. And yet--it is only an impression--jazz seems a bit different. Of ...

Album Review

Seulah Noh Jazz Orchestra: NOhMAD

Read "NOhMAD" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On her debut album, NohMAD, South Korea-born, New England-educated Seulah Noh is listed as composer, arranger and conductor. She could be described as “painter" too, as she uses her seventeen-piece orchestra (enlarged to twenty-one by strings on three numbers) as a palette on which to render sophisticated--and sometimes daring--portraits in sound that are generally progessive but seldom boring. Several impart an East Asian flavor, especially the three-movement Traveler's Suite, which presumably depicts Noh's long journey from Korea ...

Album Review

Chase Kuesel: Space Between

Read "Space Between" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Drummer and composer Chase Kuesel is based in Brooklyn, but his debut release as leader, Space Between, arose from a year spent studying in Basel as part of a select group of young musicians funded through the Focusyear Artist Grant. It's an album that's notable for Kuesel's ambitious compositions--drawing on influences including Olivier Messiaen, Norma Winstone and Guillermo Klein, to whom Kuesel dedicates “Axis (For GK)"--and for the stylish interpretations crafted by the drummer and his bandmates. Four ...

Album Review

Song Yi Jeon: Movement Of Lives

Read "Movement Of Lives" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Song Yi Jeon is a vocalist from South Korea whose voice and music can be as ethereal as ectoplasm or as penetrating as a laser. She recalls the mystical flexibility of Sheila Jordan and the raucous improvisations of Patty Waters in her sound but comes up with her own brand of hypnotic beauty. On this CD, only two songs have lyrics--the opening track, the standard “Invitation," and the closing track, a Korean folk song. On the rest, Jeon ...

Read more articles

Articles Across the Web

...or were mentioned in an All About Jazz article.

“This is an amazing duo with a beautiful chemistry and musicality. The music is fresh and flows naturally like a river full of great surprises.” — Lionel Loueke 

“This duo plays very engaging music; it is joyous, infectious and demands a lot of technique from both artists. Great guitar playing and vocal flexibility of the highest order!” — Norma Winstone


“Home... glows from within and impresses on multiple levels. A powerful empathic link binds[Song Yi Jeon and Vinicius Gomes] as they explore a near-perfect example of a duet project." - Josef Woodard from Downbeat Magazine Rate 4.5!!! 

Read more


Chorinho for Spring

From: Solitary Bloom
By Song Yi Jeon

Job's Blues

From: Job's Trials
By Song Yi Jeon