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Jo-Yu Chen: Stranger

Angelo Leonardi By

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Messasi in luce qualche anno fa con due ricercati lavori in piano trio per la Sony Music (Obsession e My Incomplete Soul) la pianista taiwanese Jo-Yu Chen, allieva di Kenny Barron, Jason Moran e Sam Yahel, pubblica il suo terzo disco confermando i partner ed entrando nella sussidiaria Okeh, storica etichetta molto attenta ai giovani talenti.

Questo lavoro conferma il tocco limpido, il fraseggio cantabile, la sapienza armonica e l'attenzione della pianista per raffinati equilibri sonori ma non è una copia dei precedenti. L'esplorazione delle forme si fa più incisiva e aperta alla contemporaneità, il progetto appare più maturo. Va in questa direzione l'apporto del chitarrista Kurt Rosenwinkel, che s'aggiunge in tre brani apportando enfasi e colori nuovi, ma anche la volontà di entrare con maggior determinazione in territori astratti, trovando un bell'equilibrio tra libera improvvisazione e introspezione cameristica. Non mancano personali citazioni legate all'educazione accademica (è esemplare l'impressionistico "Foliage at Night") o alla cultura di provenienza ("Happy New Year").

Dopo due impliciti omaggi a Brad Mehldau e Esbjorn Svensson, "Castle" offre una prima, palpabile, novità con l'ingresso del chitarrista a metà del brano, in un lungo intervento carico di esplicita tensione. L'astratto camerismo carico d'angoscia del successivo "Fragments," aggiunge nuove prospettive estetiche.
Dopo il rassicurante e cantabile "Stranger," il repertorio torna eccentrico con "The Pirate," nuovo tema in quartetto con Rosenwinkel, ricco d'intensità espressiva ed eclettismo timbrico e con le nuove ricerche astratte di "Interlude."

Un lavoro articolato e ricco di sorprese, dunque, che continuano a manifestarsi nei quattro brani finali, dando la misura di un'artista dalla personalità sempre più marcata, da seguire con attenzione.

Track Listing: Mon Cher; Wolfman; Castle; Fragments; Stranger; The Pirate; Interlude; Song for Ryder; Happy New Year; Art of Darkness; Foliage at Night.

Personnel: Jo-Yu Chen: piano; Christopher Tordini: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar (3, 6, 10)

Title: Stranger | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Okeh

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