Music review: Jeeseok Kim East-West Quartet

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For a first-time visit to the Fringe it was a propitious gig, and not only terms of the unexpectedly blue Scottish skies Jeeseok Kim lauded by way of introducing his tune City Sky, which was inspired by a different and by all accounts often muggier firmament in his native Seoul.

Star rating: ****

Venue: The Jazz Bar (Venue 57)

The Korean tenor saxophonist, joined by Scots drummer Stephen Henderson and Edinburgh-based Irish double-bassist Ed Kelly as well as Seoul-based Scots pianist Paul Kirby, has spent time living and learning in New Orleans, an immersion that showed most overtly in his composition Tremé, named after the Crescent City’s venerable African-American neighbourhood and which had Henderson drumming up a louche, marching band swagger.

Kim had opened the set with a bouncingly boppish blues which introduced his melodic yet muscular horn playing and gave scope for both Henderson and Kirby to declare their credentials.

In contrast, Never Too Late opened with a dreamy piano prelude, over which the sax stated a simple melody which became more animated and rangy, while the aforementioned City Sky saw Kim sounding unfussy yet lyrical lines over a nicely cruising rhythm section.

His tenor playing also shone through his ballad I Thought About You with classy, unhurried elegance. In contrast, the band’s cover of a Lee Konitz number, 
Subconscious Lee, produced urgent unison playing between sax and piano over flickering brushwork and running bass, while the evening ended with the insistent, funky growl of a number that remained unnamed but made its point forcibly enough.

26 August only; 8:30pm.

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