Sun-Mi Hong Quintet
Second Page: A Self Strewn-Portrait – album presentation
Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam, 12 September 2020
Text: Robin Boer
This particular evening is a special one for three reasons. The first is the fact that this quintet plays live in concert for the first time in months, due to the COVID-19 situation. The second reason is that this concert is built around the release of the long awaited second album that was released in March and now finally gets its well deserved dedication on stage. The third reason is the unique appearance of Korean singer Song-Yi Jeon, who also performs on two tracks on the album. Only tonight, where the quintet performs two sets of music in a sold-out, but simultaneously limitedly filled Bimhuis (due to the measures). ProgJazz attended the early set, that took place from 7:30pm to 8:45pm.
While most of the performed pieces find their origin on the second album, the quintet performed a few new pieces tonight as well. One of the things that Hong made clear when she took the microfone, is that she already wrote six new pieces of music, and that a third album might be on the way sooner than we think. In the meantime, we can still chew a lot on the music from 'Second Page' and the live-versions of course brought extra elements. While the beautifully structured title-track sounded similar to the studio-recording, pieces like 'Thoughts To Be Spoken' and 'KASI' were more extensive, free and energetic. The quintet sounded more powerful than before and all the musicians seem to feel very comfortable and free, which paid off well.
Song-Yi Jeon performed during most of the pieces in the set. She truly owns an arsenal of very unique and creative vocal interpretations, especially on the piece 'KASI' (also from the album). She also performs the poem 'Dear Tomorrow', which is part of a beautiful harmonic about the personal experiences and feelings of Hong, related to her home country and her musical journey that brought her to Europe.
During the closing part of the encore 'Thoughts To Be Spoken', Hong took her moment to break loose on the kit, while her quintet stayed on track, playing the theme. This is one of the remarkable things in this quintet: it truly operates as a unit, even when, for the listener, a lot of different things seem to be happening musically. This concert once again proves this unit isn't going to stop bringing exciting stuff anytime soon.
IN: Slow Walk
Finally, we want to make our readers aware of a recent CD release by Sun-Mi Hong with her life partner and trumpet player Alistair Payne. Next to a very exclusive performance in the Amsterdam Tower and the NSDM-fuse area in July, the two made an album with half an hour of very intimate music. In ten pieces, the listener is part of various conversations between the two instruments, experiencing the many possibilities and creativity they bring. Highly recommended to listen to with (good) headphones on, and preferably in the dark.
Amersfoort Jazz Club Nights. September 30, 2020. Venue: De Observant Amersfoort. Website
Amersfoort Jazz Festival Online. November 22, 2020. Venue: Theater De Lieve Vrouw Amersfoort. Website