5

Linda May Han Oh: Walk Against Wind

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
On the exquisite Walk Against Wind bassist Linda May Han Oh showcases her unique compositional style that rivals, artistically, her mastery over her instrument and her improvisational prowess. These 11 originals express various motifs reflecting Oh's diverse influences yet a delightfully dark poetry imbues all of them, giving the album its thematic unity.

The intensely cinematic "Speech Impediment," for instance, has a languid melody and shimmering refrains. Oh's Lilting, wordless vocals echo saxophonist Ben Wendel wistful lines. As the tempo picks up the tune becomes crisper and more hypnotic. Wendel and guitarist Matthew Stevens exchange thrillingly dissonant lines over drummer Justin Brown's thunderous beats and Oh's thumping bass. Brown's dynamic solo ushers in the concluding head.

Brown opens the atmospheric "Ikan Bilis" with his haunting drumming that endows the music with a primal spirituality. Pianist Fabian Almazan makes a guest appearance as he and the other band members contribute their respective introspective musings. The individual instrumental voices coalesce into a mystical and memorable ensemble performance that has an undercurrent of subtle funky rhythms. Almazan's chiming keys and Stevens' resonant notes mix in with Oh and Brown's percolating cadence to buoy Wendel's warmly wailing tenor.

Another guest, Korean traditional percussionist Minji Park, adds an Eastern touch to the expectant "Mantis" with her exotic janggu & kkwaenggwari. Oh takes center stage with complex and lyrical extemporization that is intriguingly crepuscular. Wendel's yearning, fiery phrases thrillingly contrast with the contemplative serenity of the rest of the track.

The pensive and dramatic "Deepsea Dancers" demonstrates Western Classical hints especially in the melodic fragments that are its building blocks. Stevens and Wendel alternate eloquent spontaneous monologues that are sometimes stimulatingly angular and at others elegantly fluid. Oh's muscular reverberations and Brown's soft thuds and brushing add an element of tension to the overall mood.

Walking Against Wind is a mature work that perfectly balances different musical elements. The prewritten and the spontaneously created seamlessly meld and miscellaneous inspirations fuse into a singular and sublime whole. It is Oh's best release to date and, hopefully, a sign of what is to come next.

Track Listing: Lucid Lullaby; Firedancer; Speech Impediment; Perpluzzle; Walk Against Wind; Ikan Bilis; Mother Reason; Mantis; Deepsea Dancers; Midnight; Western.

Personnel: Linda May Han Oh: bass, voice; Ben Wendel: saxophone; Matthew Stevens: guitar; Justin Brown:drums; Fabian Almazan: piano (2, 6, 10); Minji Park: janggu & kkwaenggwari (8).

Title: Walk Against Wind | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Biophilia Records

About Linda May Han Oh
Articles | Calendar | Discography | Photos | More...

Tags

Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop for Music

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

Related

Read No Place to Fall
No Place to Fall
By Mark Corroto
Read Cooper's Park
Cooper's Park
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Katarsis4
Katarsis4
By Vitalijus Gailius
Read A Throw Of Dice
A Throw Of Dice
By Dan McClenaghan
Read Roma
Roma
By Mike Jurkovic
Read e-motion
e-motion
By Nicholas F. Mondello
Read The Real Blue
The Real Blue
By Jack Bowers
Read City Abstract
City Abstract
By Dan Bilawsky