10 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like so many others, pianist Helen Sung didn’t plan to be a jazz musician. The Houston native studied classical until college, where either a Tommy Flanagan solo or a Harry Connick Jr. gig changed her life (stories vary). Here, on her sixth album (and first for the indie-major Concord), Sung is backed by a sextet, and she casts her net wide with a broad range of material. Her classical roots show in the intro to “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)” and the elegant but brief “Equipoise.” Bringing a lightness to the proceedings, Sung and her percussionists (let’s hear it for handclaps!) are joined by the irrepressible Paquito d’Rivera for Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba.” Something of a head-scratcher are her references to Thelonious Monk—the original “Brother Thelonious” has a Jazz Messengers vibe to it, and her take on “Epistrophy” verges on soul-jazz. Yet it does grow on you. There are a handful of other originals as well, with the standout “Hidden” featuring Sung on the Fender Rhodes, a smoking solo from trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and the violin of guest Regina Carter.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like so many others, pianist Helen Sung didn’t plan to be a jazz musician. The Houston native studied classical until college, where either a Tommy Flanagan solo or a Harry Connick Jr. gig changed her life (stories vary). Here, on her sixth album (and first for the indie-major Concord), Sung is backed by a sextet, and she casts her net wide with a broad range of material. Her classical roots show in the intro to “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)” and the elegant but brief “Equipoise.” Bringing a lightness to the proceedings, Sung and her percussionists (let’s hear it for handclaps!) are joined by the irrepressible Paquito d’Rivera for Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba.” Something of a head-scratcher are her references to Thelonious Monk—the original “Brother Thelonious” has a Jazz Messengers vibe to it, and her take on “Epistrophy” verges on soul-jazz. Yet it does grow on you. There are a handful of other originals as well, with the standout “Hidden” featuring Sung on the Fender Rhodes, a smoking solo from trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and the violin of guest Regina Carter.

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