Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

282

Helen Sung: Sungbird (After Albeniz)

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist/composer Helen Sung could have played it safe. After offering up two fine straight ahead jazz outings— Push (Blue Moon, 2004) and Helenistique, (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006), the expectation was "more of the same." And that would not have been a disappointment. Though the New York based artist came to jazz late—during her college years, after early studies in classical music—she came out swinging sweet and lovely on those first two discs.

With Sungbird (After Albeniz), the artist takes off on a different tangent, returning, to an extent, to her classical roots. Sung performs Spanish pianist/composer Isaac Albeniz' six piece work for solo piano, Espana, along with her own loose interpretations of the work in six original compositions employing a sax and rhythm section jazz quartet and added percussionist.

Sung describes Espana as: "...beautifully-written pieces that were distinctive, simple yet profound, concise and with room for adaptation." They are all of that; and so are her compositions. Her six pieces tint the jazz sound with a classical hue. The title tune has a light, airy swing—Marcus Strickland, on soprano sax, is awesome here, with a sweet, delicate strength to his tone—and "Capricho American," following Albeniz' "Capricho Catalan," is arranged with a string quartet steeped-in-the-blues feeling—check out Reuben Roger's bass moving back and forth from bowed to plucked, with Strickland's tenor sax floating over the top.

"Shall We Tango" has a gentle momentum, a light bounce in its step, with Sung splashing gorgeously in front of drummer Nasheet Waits' soft, insistent rumble, while "Free Fusion" begins with Sung soloing in an abstract mode before the quartet joins her and finds a groove.

The Albeniz/Sung, classical/jazz tunes are interwoven, highlighting the differences and similarities of the sounds. Sung says: "Jazz certainly uses elements of classical music, but it definitely is its own thang," (she's from Houston). And then she goes and marries the two forms into a beautiful union.

Track Listing: Prelude; Tango; Preamble; Shall We Tango?; Malaguena Miniatura; Malaguena; Serenata; Sungbird; Caprico Catalan; Capricho American; Free Fusion; Encore: Zortzico.

Personnel: Helen Sung: piano; Marcus Strickland: tenor and soprano saxophones; Reuben Rogers: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums; Samuel Torres: percussion.

Title: Sungbird (After Albeniz) | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Reimagined" CD/LP/Track Review Reimagined
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Live At Jazzhus Montmartre" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazzhus Montmartre
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Monk's Cha Cha" CD/LP/Track Review Monk's Cha Cha
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Open Book" CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Doug Collette
Published: September 9, 2017