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Seulah Noh Jazz Orchestra: NOhMAD

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Seulah Noh Jazz Orchestra: NOhMAD
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 (and her immersion in classical music) to the United States—and later conversion to jazz. The sections are "6829 Miles," "A Letter from Me" and "Sail at Dawn," each of which is persuasive in its own way, as are Noh's other themes: "L'illusionniste" (versions of which open and close the album), "Arrogant or Elegant" and "Hear the Light."

Noh also arranged Fred Hersch's graceful "Heartsong" and Pat Metheny's warm-hearted "Have You Heard," which round out the colorful and charming program. Noh's orchestra—stocked with musicians who are far from household names—is splendid, as are the soloists, some of whom have the stage to themselves: alto Nathan Yee ("L'illusionniste"), trumpeter Mark tipton ("Arrogant or Elegant"), tenor ian buss ("Hear the Light," "Sail at Dawn") and trumpeter Alex Quinn ("6829 Miles"). Others include trombonist Joey Dies and pianist Dabin Ryu ("Heartsong"); Ryu, trombonist Michael Gerace and guitarist Kevin Scollins ("A Letter from Me"); Scollins, trumpeter Mike Brehm, baritone Nick Biagini, drummer Willis Edmundson and percussionist Kan Yanabe ("Have You Heard").

There are wordless vocals on "L'illusionniste" and "Hear the Light," beautifully rendered by Song Yi Jeon and Astghit Martirosyan, respectively. The string section helps brighten the landscape on the Traveler's Suite. Here as elsewhere, Noh applies the skills learned at the Berklee College and New England Conservatory to lend NohMAD its singular pattern and perspective. Here's a talent to watch, and an album to admire.

Track Listing

L'illusionniste (feat. Song Yi Jeon); Arrogant or Elegant; Hear the Light (feat. Astghik Martirosyan); Heartsong; Traveler's Suite : I. 6829 Miles; Traveler's Suite : II. A Letter From Me; Traveler's Suite : III. Sail at Dawn; Have You Heard (feat. Kan Yanabe); L'illusionniste (Alternate Take).

Personnel

Seulah Noh
composer / conductor
Seulah Noh Jazz Orchestra
band / ensemble / orchestra
Nathan See
saxophone, alto
Mark tipton
trumpet
ian buss
saxophone
joey dies
trombone
Dabin Ryu
piano
Alex Quinn
trumpet
Michael Gerace
trombone
Mike Brehm
trumpet
Nick Biagini
saxophone, baritone

Album information

Title: NOhMAD | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced

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