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

Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

For an issue of Real Groove magazine I wrote about how boring many New Zealand jazz albums are -- they simply don't surprise and are often retreads of standards which have been done better... > Read more

Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio (Impulse)

An excellent and intelligent reissue of late-60s recordings by the much underrated pianist/harpist widow of jazz sax legend John Coltrane which includes tracks from two albums, Cosmic Music and A... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

After decades of almost becoming the biggest star out of Africa and commanding a global audience (support from Peter Gabriel, the 7 Seconds single with Neneh Cherry, Mandela concerts and so on)... > Read more

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

For many decades the punchline was,"French pop" . . . because when it came to pop music it seemed the French -- stuck somewhere between cool chanson and fashion chic -- didn't quite... > Read more