YOUNGJOO SONG SEPTET
YOUNGJOO SONG, piano/composer
Youngjoo Song is one of the leading female jazz pianists and composer. Her prompt escalation in the jazz world enabled her to record ten albums with distinguished labels such as EMI, Warner and Sony. As a native Korean, Youngjoo's early career took off as a top live and recording musician in K-pop and Gospel field. To pursue her dream as a jazz musician she decided to leave her fame behind and take new challenge in the jazz capitol. After completing her degrees at Berklee College of Music , Manhattan School of Music and Purchase College she was able to exponentially climb Korea’s jazz charts in record sales and popularity where she then had multiple opportunities to perform with some of the most prominent artists from both Korea and the US. She has recorded and shared the stage with some of the most prominent jazz musicians in the modern era; including Steve Wilson, Mark Turner, Alan Ferber, Gretchen Parlato, Kendrick Scott, Marcus Gilmore, Vicente Archer, Rogerio Boccato, just to name a few. She has won Korean Music Award “Best Jazz & Crossover Album” in 2010(Love Never Fails) and "Best Jazz & Crossover Performance" in 2012(Tale of a City), and continuous nomination for her new releases. She opened up many doors of prestigious venues such as Blue Note New York and Smalls to her successors. Youngjoo is expanding her international career by leaving her footprints in Beijing, Singapore, and many more. In 2016, she released her 10th year anniversary album 'Reflection' with carefully selected originals of herself and rearranged with Grammy nominated trombonist-composer Alan Ferber to suit septet formation. She is a full-time faculty at Seoul Theological University of Applied Music department to pass down her knowledge and first-hand experience to the next generation.
HOGYU HWANG, bass
Alumni of Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Hogyu accompanied with numerous acclaimed musicians like Jeff Tain Watts,Terry Lyn Carrington, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, and Jimmy Heath. Achieved highest level of mastery in both upright bass and electric bass guitar by stepping up his career by performing at International Association of Jazz Educators annual conferences, Concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, JVC Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Beantown Jazz Festival etc. Hogyu has finished his new recording for his first album, and planning to release in fall 2017.
SANGMIN LEE, drums
One of the most demanding recorded live session drummers in South Korea. After having 10+ years of session experience, Sangmin moved to the states and graduated from Berklee College of Music (B.M.) and New York University (M.M). The fresh and vibrant NY music scene lured him to explore and expand his musicality by collaborating with artists such as Grammy winning music producer Fran Cathcart, Casey Benjamin, Dave Pietro, Sarah Charles and several others. Sangmin released his 1st solo album titled “Evolution” in 2010 as a music producer, composer, and a drummer. Just like his album title, Sangmin is pushing himself to reach out beyond his limit as a musician not just as a drummer. His name as a jazz artist started to inflate when he won his first award at Jarasum International Jazz Festival competition in 2008.
SUNGWON KIM, guitar
Sungwon Kim is a guitarist, composer, and producer based in the New York City. Sungwon is playing the pit orchestra for the hit Broadway musical 'Wicked' in NYC as a substitute guitarist. He graduated from Berklee College of Music (Magna Cum Laude, recipient of numerous awards and full scholarship), Musicians Institute, and Los Angeles Music Academy, and master degree in Jazz Studies at NYU Steinhardt. Sungwon had the opportunity to study and collaborate with renowned musicians such as Jimmy Page, John Scofield, Adam Rogers, Chris Potter, Peter Bernstein, Alan Ferber, John Blackwell just to name a few.
ALAN FERBER, trombone
Grammy-nominated trombonist-composer Alan Ferber has been called “one of the jazz world’s premier composers and arrangers for larger groups” by All About Jazz NY. Jazz Times magazine describes Ferber’s compositions as “inspired and meticulous” and the L.A. Weekly deems him “one of the premier modern jazz arrangers of our time.” For the last six years, he has been recognized as one of the leading trombonists of his generation in Down Beat magazine’s International Critics’ Poll and Readers’ Poll. Ferber was the recipient of a 2013 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. Since 2011, he has been an Adjunct Professor of jazz studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School. Ferber’s aesthetic approach prescribes a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition as a means toward meaningful innovation. Appropriately, the Wall Street Journal describes his music as “somehow both old school and cutting edge.” He has released seven albums as a bandleader, most recently an eight-movement original piece for his working nonet called “Roots & Transitions” on Sunnyside Records. In 2013, Alan Ferber released an album for 17-piece big band on the Sunnyside label, entitled March Sublime. It features stunningly original compositions and arrangements and was nominated for a 2014 Grammy award in the ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ category. Prior to that, Ferber released “Music For Nonet & Strings” (Sunnyside) which received a coveted 4 star review in Down Beat and was named one the magazine’s “Best CDs of the Year.” Alan took a critical role as an arranger in Youngjoo Song's 10th anniversary album 'Reflection'. In 2016, as a new album release promotion, Alan performed with Youngjoo Song in NYC(Le Possion Rouge) and Korea(EBS broadcasting, Baekam Hall) in 2016.
Alex Sipiagin, trumpet
Jazz Festivals worldwide has seen Alex Sipiagin performing with the likes of Dave Holland, Michael Brecker, the Mingus groups, etc. Born on June 11, 1967 in Yaroslavl, Russia, Alex began studying the trumpet at age 12, studying at the Moscow Music Institute and the Gnessin Conservatory in Moscow where he received his Baccalaureate. In 1990, Alex participated in the International Louis Armstrong Competition sponsored by the Thelonius Monk Institute in Washington D.C. winning top honors and soon after relocated to the jazz mecca of the world, New York City. Alex soon became a favored player for various bands including the Gil Evans Orchestra, Gil Goldstein's Zebra Coast Orchestra, the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, drummer Bob Moses' band Mozamba, Mingus Big Band as well as the Mingus Dynasty and Mingus Orchestra, and the Dave Holland Big Band, Sextet and Octet groups. In 2003 he recorded with Michael Brecker's Quindectet touring also with the Michael Brecker Sextet. Alex has also worked with Eric Clapton, Dr.John, Aaron Neville, Elvis Costello, Michael Franks, Dave Sanborn, Deborah Cox, legendary producer Phil Ramone, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, etc., and many of the recordings he has been involved in has been nominated and/or won the Grammy's (Dave Holland Big Band's "What Goes Around," and "Overtime,"Michael Brecker's Qindectet "Wide Angles"). As a soloist, Sipiagin has eleven recordings out to his credit and has toured extensively throughout Europe, U.S., Japan and Russia with his own group. He also teaches at the Groningen Prince Claus Conservatory, Academy of Music, Basel, Switzerland as well steady professorship at NYU. Recorded 15 solo albums for one of prestige jazz labels "CrissCrossJazz" His recent album of his compositions and arrangements "Balance 38-58" features such noted musicians as Eric Harland, David Binney, Adam Rogers and Matt Brewer.
Will Vinson, saxophone
Originally from London, Alto Saxophonist/Composer Will Vinson moved to New York City in 1999 and has remained there ever since. Since his arrival, he has appeared and/or recorded with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ari Hoenig, Marcus Gilmore, Chris Potter, Kurt Elling, Lage Lund, Aaron Parks, and many others. Will is a member of a number of leading ensembles, including pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s Quartet (he appears on Charlie and the Grammy-nominated Caminos), Ari Hoenig’s Punk Bop and Nonet (Will appears on Inversations, Bert’s Playground and Live at Smalls), Miguel Zenon’s Identities Orchestra (Grammy-nominated for Identities are Changeable), and his own groups featuring, among others, Lage Lund, Jeff Ballard, Aaron Parks, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Shai Maestro and Mike Moreno. In 2012, along with bassist Orlando le Fleming and guitarist Lage Lund, he formed the critically acclaimed OWL Trio, whose eponymous debut in 2013 was hailed by critics and listeners alike. Downbeat declared: “Everything about this album,which should contend for debut of the year honors,is a resounding success. The music swings effortlessly, every utterence is gorgeous and the recording is intimate and beautiful", while All About Jazz noted that "the chemistry, sensitivity and simpatico sensibilities exhibited by these three young men are evident at every turn....OWL Trio is one of those records that finds power in quiet expression, not raised volume or aggression. Lund, Vinson and le Fleming make for an absorbing combination" Will has an international reputation as a leader and sideman. All About Jazz New York describes Will as playing “with a relentless force”. Thomas Michelsen of Denmark’s Politiken, hails this “very exciting saxophonist” with a “beautiful, softly modulating tone”, and John Fordham of The Guardian described a "superb solo of rugged leathery sounds turning into mellifluous high notes” with “secure control and storming energy". Time Out London calls will an "exciting young altoist with a lethal approach to writing and soloing”. Will has released 6 CD’s as a leader/composer. It’s For You (Sirocco Jazz, 2004) was described as “combining a thoughtful originality of conception with energy and fluidity of execution in very satisfying proportions” (Jazzwise magazine) Will’s second CD, Promises (NineteenEight Records), was described as “impressive” and “coolly restrained” by Nate Chinen of the New York Times. 2010 saw the release of two CD's: The World (Through My Shoes), a live recording was described as "marvelous" by Downbeat and "exhilarating, cascading... outstanding" by Jazz Times. Stockholm Syndrome (Criss Cross) came out in September 2010. 2013 saw the release of Live at Smalls, one of the most successful albums on the Smalls Live label. 2016 saw the release of Will’s debut recording for 5Passion, Perfectly Out of Place, featuring an all-star group: Mike Moreno on guitar, Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano, Matt Penman on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. The reviews have been ecstatic. All About Jazz calls it "a marvel of compositional design, textural beauty, and musicality"; Downbeat lauds the "incredibly original" compositions that "challenge the notion of how jazz is defined in this era", Jazzwise describes it as "heart-stopping", and Sterophile Magazine declares Will "one of the best alto saxophonists in Jazz". Will has appeared with his own group and as a sideman in the USA, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and Japan. His musical experience has not been limited to Jazz. Will is a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band, which toured for 10 months in 2007/8. He has also performed, arranged and/ or recorded with Sufjan Stevens, Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton and Harper Simon. Will's saxophone playing is executed with incredible power and dramatic sensitivity, and is characterized by his imposing sound and technique; influenced by saxophonists from Cannonball to Chris Potter, he nevertheless brings his own unique approach to every performance. Will's writing, and the playing of his colleagues, combines a great respect for the century-long jazz tradition with explorations into the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic realms of contemporary forms.