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Helen Sung: Sung with Words

January 19 @ 8:00 pm


This concert is a live presentation of a project funded by a 2014 Chamber Music America New Works Grant. It presents a collection of songs composed and arranged for eight musicians by pianist Helen Sung to the poetry of the former chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts and current California Poet Laureate, Dana Gioia. When Sung described her feelings about missing the meaning of poetry, Gioia (who has also collaborated with Dave Brubeck and Paquito D’Rivera) replied: “Poetry is meant to be read out lout, it’s musical: listen to the rhythm of the words, the sounds – and the meaning will come.” Together they created a jazz song cycle that “has New York City in the air.” Sung assembled an ensemble of world class vocalists and instrumentalists, including vocalists Charenée Wade and Carolyn Leonhart, trumpeter Jason Palmer, saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Rick Rosato, drummer Adam Cruz, and percussionist Samuel Torres to, according to Sung, “explore themes of the human condition – love, betrayal, wonder, mystery – bringing together the musical and literary worlds in a thrilling experience.”

“On one hand, Helen Sung with Words last night at the Jazz Standard was a chance to hear both multi-reedman John Ellis and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen blaze together in front of a tight Latin-flavored rhythm section, a treat not to be missed. On the other, it was an opportunity to witness the most cutting edge of vocal jazz, a tantalizingly eclectic, often harrowingly relevant work in progress bookended by a couple of real burners.” -Review by New York Music Daily

"A treat not to be missed"

—New York Music Daily

Helen Sung: Piano + Compositions
Charanée Wade: vocals
Carolyn Leonhart: vocals
Jason Palmer: Trumpet
John Ellis: saxophones
Rick Rosato: acoustic bass
Adam Cruz: drums
Samuel Torres: Precussion