I've had "Lucid Lullaby" stuck in my head for weeks. It took an equal amount of time for the humor of the literal nature of the song title to wash over me, but that phrase singing forth from Linda May Han Oh's bass, haunting me perpetually, is the perfect little melody. Oh as a composer has always been adept at writing perfect little melodies throughout her body of work. This is no more clear than in her latest release, Walk Against Wind, out Friday on Biophilia Records.
I have had Linda May Han Oh's "Lucid Lullaby" off her upcoming album, Walk Against Wind, stuck in my head for the last five days. While it still seems a tad too early for me to write up a fawning review about the Greenleaf Music release dropping April 14th, and it will be absolutely fawning, I can at least try to relate to as many people in my orbit about the hypnotic nature of this repeating phrase, the resonance of Oh's bass, the chirpy intermingling of Ben Wendel's saxophone, the edgy groove of Matt Stevens' guitar. In this 2015 live recording from the 2015 Winter Jazz Fest, Rudy Royston is here on drums as opposed to the new album version's Justin Brown, making for a gentler roll and a somewhat less rambunctious closing solo, while still being a true marvel on the kit with his own share of explosive moments. I'll have more to say as April 14th approaches, but in the meantime, catch my current obsession after the jump.
I am extraordinarily excited about bassist Linda Oh. I still keep her last album, 2013's Sun Pictures, in steady rotation. I feel genuine guilt that I didn't love it more in its time and semi-regularly sing that album's praises to this day on assorted social networking entirely unprovoked, wondering if this shouting into the void is changing any minds at all about how utterly brilliant Oh is, how her band is, how that collection of songs is, and how it should stand throughout time as one of the finest jazz albums of this modern era. It made my honorable mentions in that year's Season of Lists. I was a damned fool back then. (I mean, seriously, I had Stephan Crump's Thwirl and Gilad Hekselman's This Just In, which I both still rock, hanging out back there with her; what the hell was I thinking?) Linda May Han Oh is an astoundingly impressive musician with as much soul as a bassist as she is as a composer. She never fails to disappoint and I'll keep telling people that forever.
You know what still goes hard? Bassist Linda Oh's 2013 album Sun Pictures. It's an album that just doesn't quit and is as awesome a listen now as when it realese years ago. It comes to mind from time to time andn came o mind recently, particularly since Oh brought this video up of her performing at last year's Winter Jazz Fest which is particularly apt considering this year's festival starts tonight with Oh playing with various groups this week led by the likes of Ibrahim Maalouf, Fabian Almazan, Camila Meza and Sharel Cassity. In the meantime, take a walk down memory lane after the jump.
Malaysian born bass player and composer Linda Oh's second release as a leader is coming out very soon, on the 22nd of May, on Greenleaf Music. The quartet is composed of acclaimed sidemen, including Dayna Stephens on saxophone, extremely versatile drummer Rudy Royston and Fabian Almazan on keys. The group works audibly harmoniously well, in terms of dynamics and feel. Vocalist Jen Shyu contributes a deeply melodic lead to the fifth track, "Thicker than Water".