Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Maureen Choi Quartet: Theia

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
These days, it's the rule rather than the exception to mix different traditions of music, and the result is sometimes a postmodern grab bag without aesthetic direction. Transgressing genres isn't inherently a sign of quality. In fact, it can be a symptom of shallowness—something that surely isn't needed in these fast-clicking times.

But then again, it also happens that an artist digs deep into different traditions of music in order to refine a personal language. This is what happens on violinist Maureen Choi's Theia. It's her third album conceived in the format of the quartet and the second with the line-up of pianist Daniel Garcia Diego, bassist Mario Carrillo and drummer Michael Olivera.

Six out of the ten tracks are original compositions by Choi, and the highlight is the opener, "Phoenix Borealis," a composition that organically incorporates elements of classical music, jazz and flamenco. It begins with an enchantingly airy classical motif reminiscent of Debussy and develops with fiery tempo and distorted buzzing bass that opens a chasm into the abyss of the sublime. Choi's violin whispers, soars and spirals into whirling patterns, exploring delicate details and forceful rhythmical strokes. It's a technical tour de force, but that's not the point. Technique is used to explore a wide variety of emotions from wistful to hot-tempered, as expressed through deftly interpreted musical tropes, embracing classical melancholy and passionate flamenco.

The dance is a returning form as emphasized by titles such as "Dance of the Fallen" and the reading of Manuel de Falla's "Danza Ritual del Fuego." Indeed, the musicians make the music dance as they elegantly explore the transition between elegiac moments and energetic optimism. Human psychology is complicated, but Choi rides the waves of emotions in a fluent musical language that never becomes bombastic or abrupt. Instead, each note is a step in an organic narrative told by the quartet. There is even a melodic postscript in the shape of a hidden track. It's worth waiting for and a charming coda to a strong musical statement.

Track Listing: Phoenix Borealis; Dance of the Fallen; Canto Salamanchino; Silverio O. García; Dear Paco (Cepa Andaluza); Sinner's Prayer; Love is the Answer; Bok Choi (Pajarillo); September, the First; Danza Ritual del Fuego.

Personnel: Maureen Choi: violin; Daniel García Diego: piano; Mario Carrillo: double bass; Michael Olivera: drums.

Title: Theia | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Barco Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Ida y Vuelta

Ida y Vuelta

Maureen Choi
Ida y Vuelta

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Theia

Theia

Barco Records
2019

buy
Ida Y Vuelta

Ida Y Vuelta

Barco Records
2015

buy
Maureen Choi Quartet

Maureen Choi Quartet

Maureen Choi Music
2011

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun19Wed
Maureen Choi
Cliff Bell's
Detroit, MI
Jun20Thu
Maureen Choi Quartet
Bop Stop
Cleveland, OH
$20
Jun21Fri
Maureen Choi Quartet: "theia" Album Release
BLU Jazz+
Akron, OH
$20
Jun21Fri
Maureen Choi
BLU Jazz+
Akron, OH
Jun22Sat
Maureen Choi
Summer Solstice Jazz Festival
East Lansing, MI
Jun28Fri
Maureen Choi
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
Jun29Sat
Maureen Choi
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD

Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019