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Album Review

Pianist Helen Sung's third CD as a leader heads in a different direction. During a European tour, she decided to look for some Spanish classical work to adapt for her group, choosing Isaac Albéniz's Espana, Op. 156. But for this recording, she intermingled her own compositions with solo piano interpretations of individual movements of Albéniz's work, creating a seamless recording in which one composer's contributions complement the other's. Her classical background is apparent, though she takes some liberties with the Albéniz's melodies. On the quintet tracks, her supporting band, including Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano saxophones), bassist Reuben Rogers, drummer Nasheet Waits and percussionist Samuel Torres, follow her muse and bring out the full potential of her catchy tunes. Clocking just under 43 minutes, Sung actually leaves the listener wanting more.


Born: Houston, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The winner of the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition, pianist Helen Sung is an adroit improviser with a bent toward straight-ahead jazz and post-bop. A native of Houston, Texas, Sung studied classical piano growing up and attended Houston's High School for the Performing Arts before earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees in classical piano from the University of Texas at Austin. It was during her time in college that Sung became interested in jazz, and after graduating in 1995 she...
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Sungbird, Helen Sung
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