Korean, Amsterdam-based drummer-composer Sun-Mi Hong struggled against all odds to realize her musical path and vision. She moved to the Netherlands ten years ago to study at Conservatorium van Amsterdam, an undertaking full of risk, facing a new culture with barriers in spoken and musical language, and there she find her voice. In 2018 she won the Sena Dutch Jazz Competition. Her quintet won the Edison Jazz 2021 award.
Third Page: Resonance is her third album with her long-running quintet, comprised of like-minded ex-pats – Korean pianist Chaerin Im (replacing another Korean pianist, Young-Woo Lee, and coming from Seoul while Sun-MiHong was born in In-Cheon), British trumpeter (and partner) Alistair Payne, and Italian tenor sax player Nicolò Ricci and double bass player Alessandro Fongaro. The album was recorded at Bethlehemkerk Studio 150 in Amsterdam in December 2021.
Sun-Mi Hong composed seven pieces (one is reprised as an encore) that offer a fresh perspective on the post-bop Jazz legacy, from both sides of the Atlantic. She leads her quintet from the drum set, with a modest drum set, but focuses on driving the music forward with quite minimalist, impressionistic patterns and irregular time signatures, but without forcing herself over the music. As a bandleader, she balances skillfully her well-crafted but reserved compositions with the freedom given to the passionate quintet to improvise and experiment with her ideas, showing her great trust in her musical comrades.
Compositions like «Blind», with its rolling rhythmic pattern, or the ballads «0191», «Letter with No Words» and the most beautiful and moving «Home» highlight Sun-Mi Hong’s compassionate warmth, and the refined and thoughtful way of building the drama and its emotional catharsis, while the improvised «Screams Like Vapours» suggests her free rhythmic thinking and deep rapport with Payne (with who she recorded the duo album IN: Slow Walk, 2020).
Sun-Mi Hong proves herself as a mature composer and bandleader and a creative force to reckon with.
Sun-Mi Hong (dr), Alistair Payne (tp), Chaerin Im (p), Nicolò Ricci (ts), Alessandro Fongaro (b)