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Sungjae Son

The Near East Quartet has been a force in Korean music since 2010, juxtaposing elements of contemporary jazz and traditional Korean music with pure sound exploration to create new forms. Saxophonist/clarinettist Sungjae Son and guitarist Suwuk Chung have been members from the outset, and the group has been strengthened with the integration of pansori singer Yulhee Kim and highly creative drummer Soojin Suh. On their ECM debut the NEQ plays five compositions by Sungjae Son and three Korean traditionals. Near East Quartet was recorded in Seoul, and mixed at Studios La Buissonne. Producer: Sun Chung. The ECM debut of the Near East Quartet was recorded in Seoul in December 2016

MUSICIAN Born:

Kimie Kim

Guitar Player Kimie Kim was born in 1975 Jeju, South Korea. He moved to Hollywood to attend Musicians Institute at 19. After experiencing jazz festivals in United States and Canada, He went to Austria to attend the Vienna Conservatory where he studied with Christian Havel. Later He also studied with Mimi Fox and Steve Erquiaga in San Francisco bay area. When he came back to Korea. He started new band project "Infinite Loop" with various musicians. Currently he is a Editor-in-Chief of GuitarLab Magazine.

MUSICIAN Born:

Karen Lyu

Karen Lyu is a unique and animated jazz singer/songwriter who loves to give playful, powerful and unforgettable performances. She swings, scats and soulfully savors heartfelt, brave and quirky songs about life, love, and things that matter. Her music is touched by jazz, folk, pop, funk, Motown, 80's, Broadway, classical, Latin, world music, and Korean songs. Her vocal inspirations include Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Siegel (The Manhattan Transfer), Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eva Cassidy, Youn Sun Nah, Robert Robinson and Bobby McFerrin. People are usually surprised by Karen's powerful voice and stage persona! Born in Seoul, Korea, Karen grew up with her struggling immigrant family in the US (CA, TX, and MN), got a Jazz Studies degree at Cornell College in IA, sang throughout the Midwest, and beyond, and now sings in South Korea

ARTICLE: FROM FAR AND WIDE

At A Korean Jazz Picnic, No Need To Know The Music

Read "At A Korean Jazz Picnic, No Need To Know The Music" reviewed by Arthur R George

That jazz appeals to younger audiences, is fun, and not so serious, is more than a mere notion, materializing in, of all places, South Korea. The Jarasum Jazz Festival created there by promoter In Jae Jin has become one of the largest in Asia by hosting a multi-day event which features camping, western and Korean performers, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Black String: Mask Dance

Read "Mask Dance" reviewed by Ian Patterson

The geomungo--the Korean six-stringed fretted zither--is one of the oldest string instruments in the world, the combination of paulownia and chestnut wood body and twisted silk strings dating to the fourth century. The geomungo is at the heart of Black String, an exciting quartet led by Yoon Jeong Heo, in whose hands this most traditional of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Young-Ae Jung: Because I Love You

Read "Because I Love You" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

South Korean singer/composer Young-Ae Jung made her recording debut with her 2013 The Man I Love (Self Produced). On that recording, the singer revealed herself as a more-than-capable composer, whose motifs and archetypes are of the same mature variety. The singer proved the universality of jazz by her incorporation of both English and Korean lyrics in ...

Francesca Han: Dream Episodes, Blue Suns, Icarus

Read "Francesca Han: Dream Episodes, Blue Suns, Icarus" reviewed by Ian Patterson

A new Francesca Han recording is something to get excited about. The pianist's spirited trio/quartet outing Illusion (Audioguy Records, 2012) and the bewitching solo effort Ascetic (Audioguy Records, 2012)--one of the finest solo piano jazz albums of recent years--were outstanding examples of her skills as a composer, bandleader and improviser. Now, in a relatively short space ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Sunny Kim and Ben Monder: The Shining Sea: Live at Olympus Hall

Read "The Shining Sea: Live at Olympus Hall" reviewed by Dave Wayne

People who know me know that I am not particularly interested in jazz vocals or straight-up renditions of jazz standards. One of my hobbies is playing the drums, and I am also not really motivated to listen to music without drums or some sort of percussion. So, I put off reviewing The Shining Sea: Live at ...

Club Jazzda: Seoul's Hidden Gem

Read "Club Jazzda: Seoul's Hidden Gem" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

One of the hidden gems of the Seoul music scene in South Korea is the Club Jazzda. Located in the youthful Mapo neighborhood, the intimate basement venue has live music every night of the week showcasing young, up-and-coming local talent. Trumpeter Ye Jung Kim owns this intimate listening room, and sometimes joins the musicians ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Into The Light: Music of Korea V

Read "Into The Light: Music of Korea V" reviewed by Ian Patterson

The Korean Arts Management Service (KAMS) has put a great deal of energy and resources into promoting the Korean performance arts abroad in the past nine years. Music is one of its biggest exports, with traditional and contemporary Korean music increasingly finding its way into the World Music, jazz and numerous arts festivals of the world. ...


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