Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunny Kim Painter's Eye Sunnyside 2012


You may want to remember the name...you will not forget the voice.

Going back to basics, getting in touch with your roots and knowing who you are as an artist are incredibly important. In some cases, embracing your musical identity can make or break a career. Sunny Kim drops Painter's Eye on August 14, 2012. The inspiration for this delightfully eclectic release is the poetry and painting of Sun Doo Kim.

Sunny Kim was voted best Korean jazz vocalist in 2012 by the Korean publication, Jazz People. Holding a Master's in Jazz Voice from the New England Conservatory and having studied with the like of the great Steve Lacy, Sunny Kim is indeed the new shooter in female jazz vocalists. The captivating aspect of Painter's Eye   is that while it has a more contemporary twist to the aesthetic there is the more traditional clear and focused work that is keeping in tradition with the Korean conceptual nature of art in general.

Kim opens with a more melancholy "Passing" a tune that revolves around the acceptance if not inevitability of death. Life much like music comes full circle. There is a airy like quality to the vocals that seem to hang effortlessly above guitarist Ben Monder's guitar washes adding texture and richness to a tune that is as far from the light and airy as one can find. The title track "Painter's Eye" is a tune whose approach if not lyrics transcend genre, space, and time with an intriguing blues infused tonality that shows have Kim prodigious talent and range as well as any tune on the release. A personal favorite "Worm" is dedicated to Steve Lacy and an acknowledgement of Lacy's talent in setting poetry to music - an arrangers worst nightmare on occasion. A distinctly Asian feel to this release the placement of the tune works well in the ebb and flow of what some may consider a more modern day song cycle than typical studio release. The first call band that Kim sings with seems to feed off her every word, a magical chemistry with an ensemble this size.

Hybridization in jazz seems to be all the rage. Introducing Korean culture to the jazz landscape and done with incredible skill is a rare thing of beauty. An indescribable aesthetic that should captivate a large audience. Minimalist in delivery yet a spatial all most cinematic grandeur in artistic scope.

An easy 5 Star release.

Tracks: Passing; Painter's Eye; A Tree And A Bird; Ink Silence; In Between; Worm; Bloom and Wither; A Slow Landscape.

Personnel: Sunny Kim: vocals; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone; Ben Monder: guitar; Angelica Sanchez: piano; Sean Conly: bass; Richie Barsay/Pheeroan Aklaff: drums.