254

Helen Sung: Push

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Helen Sung: Push It's always a good sign when the opening cut has you snapping your fingers about fifteen seconds in.

Push is pianist Helen Sung's debut effort. The song that elicited the fingersnaps is "Conundrum," a swinger that features some clean-lined tenor sax work by Marcus Strickland. It hits a groove early, and a couple of minutes in Sung sparkles into an effervescent solo. The pianist—who semi-finaled in the 1999 Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition—exhibits some sharp angularities again when the sax blows back in.

"Vivacity" is the word that keeps coming to mind as I listen to Ms. Sung's music. Her approach brims with life, solid compositions and fine playing. "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back," sans sax—with percussionist Jeffrey Haynes joining the pianist,along with drummer Brian Blade and bassist Richie Goods—bubbles and jumps. Helen Sung is—it's obvious—having a helluva good time as her imagination soars.

The disc's title tune features a marvelously imaginative Sung solo and some of Strickland's finest blowing on the set. Sung has a way of keeping the listener on her/his toes as the rhythm guys settle into a groove behind her while she takes the melody on some surprising twists and turns.

The set is a nicely arranged mix of trio/quartet, up-tempo/ballad offerings, and Marcus Strickland switches from tenor to soprano to keep the sound interesting. The song "Bittersweet" sounds just like its title, with the soprano and piano playing the opposing emotions. "The Waiting Game" sounds Monk-ish, and the record closes on a perfect note with Thelonious's "Ugly Beauty," a pensive little solo gem in the hands of Helen Sung.

Visit Helen Sung on the web at www.helensung.com .

Track Listing: Conundrum, One Step Forward, Two Steps back, On a Clear Day, Push, Beauty for Ashes, The Fourth Maria, Bittersweet, Speak Low, The Waiting Game, Ugly Beauty

Personnel: Helen Sung—piano; Marcus Strickland—tenor and soprano saxophones; Richie Goods—bass; Brian Blade—drums; Jeffrey Haynes—percussion

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Blue Moon | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Chronosome" CD/LP/Track Review Chronosome
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Deep Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Deep Memory
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "High Time" CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!