Monday, April 8, 2013

Youn Sun Nah Lento ACT 2013

Lento An individual that moves effortlessly from singer to vocal artist is one that finds the extraordinary ability to make a uniform connection with an audience. Nah first releases for for ACT label whose talent roster is most impressive has been referred to as "a miracle" and "a great work of art", "a world class singer." While I have reviewed more than my fair share of female vocalists and then some, "special" may best describe the amazing talent Youn Sun Nah keeps in her back pocket for safekeeping.

A successful vocal artist has the power to touch and be touch, a harmonious union of thought, feeling and emotional vulnerability that is rare in most any other musical combination. Lento works for a variety of reasons which include perfect pitch, powerful phrasing even in slower tempos along with intonation that plays perfectly against long time partner Ulf Wakenius on guitar.

With Lento we are blessed with an eclectic grab bag of sonic delights which showcase the variety and sincerity with which Nah can move in a vocal chameleon like fashion while never showing any chinks in her vocal armor. Including her own compositions we are treated to Prelude op. 16 Nr. 4 from Scriabin's not to forget the eccentric rock from Nine Inch Nails, the country classic "Ghost Riders In The Sky" and the Korean folk music "Arirang".

These carefully placed influences allow Nah to walk a harmonic tightrope between the past, present and future without as much as a bobble. A perfect example that as an art form today, Jazz embraces the whole spectrum of music available today. Making old school new school seems come rather easy in unconventional methods of form and function. Some popular music simply does not translate well to the more traditional jazz idiom while Nah seems to make the variety of translations included here effortless with the lyrical precision of a surgeon.

Having heard my fair share of female vocalists, Nah is an artist that gives one a musical itch difficult to scratch as they wait for the next release. Youn Sun Nah takes the expected and flips it to a more contemporary sound without ever losing respect for tradition of classic jazz styling. Simply brilliant.

Tracks: Lento; Lament; Hurt; Empty Dream; Momento Magico; Soundless Bye; Full Circle; Ghost Riders In The Sky; Waiting; Arirang; New Dawn.

Personnel: Youn Sun Nah: vocals; Ulf Wakenius: guitars; Lars Danielsson: bass & cello; Vincent Peirani: accordian & accordina; Xavier Desandra-Navarre: percussion.