Youn Sun Nah: Same Girl (ACT/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Youn Sun Nah: My Name is Carnival
Youn Sun Nah: Same Girl (ACT/Southbound)

This sophisticated Korea-born singer who has long been based in Europe -- this is her seventh album, but only the second for Germany's ACT Music -- grew up with parents who were classical musicians, and that might explain some of the assured poise she brings to her delivery of ballads.

But before she arrived in Paris in the mid Nineties (drawn by chanson apparently) she hardly knew a thing about jazz, the music which has secured her reputation.

It's been quite some learning arc in that case, because here she races through a thriling scat'n'soar on the exotic and exciting Breakfast in Baghdad with label-mate Ulf Wakenius (guitar) . . . but opens with an attention-getting, almost skeletal but deeply emotional reading of My Favourite Things with only kalimba (thumb piano) and, against the odds, makes it interesting all over again.

She's not one to easily pigeon-hole as she also offers a delightful, multi-tracked, traditional Korean song; an increasingly dramatic if somewhat unsuccessful version of Metallica's Enter Sandman; and Randy Newman's Same Girl (again spare, with just kalimba) alongside some originals (her Uncertain Weather is achingly romantic).

And she's also out to enjoy herself: her own Pancake is a list of fast foods which she loves over bouncy bass from Lars Danielsson and Wakenius' guitar revving; and she hauls out kazoo for Terry Cox's Moondog.

Slightly patchy but when the cards fall -- and My Name is Carnival is gripping -- she is damn close to a full house here.

Impressive. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

BEN WEBSTER AND ART TATUM: Genius loves company

 In my experience, jazz people tend to live in the past. Radio programmes are more often about the greats of yesteryear than the living, jazz mags essay Ellington over ECM, and in any given... > Read more

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

ALAN BROADBENT INTERVIEWED: The art of time, and timing

To my horror recently, I realised it had been almost a quarter of a century since I first interviewed the LA-based expat jazz pianist Alan Broadbent. It was 1984 and he was briefly back in Auckland... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The Vaselines: Sex with an X (SubPop)

The little-known Vaselines out of Scotland got their sudden time in the spotlight when Nirvana covered a couple of their songs, notably Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam on their MTV Unplugged... > Read more

Trade . . .Me? A story of failed entrepreneurialism

Trade . . .Me? A story of failed entrepreneurialism

The new poster boy for entrepreneurs is 26-year old Canadian Kyle MacDonald: he’s the guy who traded a red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen, then traded that for a doorknob, that for a... > Read more