Quite an interesting statement of intention calling your debut album Same Girl with all but two tracks being covers of mostly well known songs; if she is the same, she’s always been uniquely fantastic on this evidence.
At she live debut last year at the Munich Jazz Club, Youn Sun Nah (ÎÇòÏú§ÏÑ†) made such an impact the audience gave her a standing ovation at the interval! And you don’t have to listen long to this CD to see why this young vocalist from Korea created such a reaction and proclaimed as “discovery of the season”.
And you’ve got to have some confidence to cover the Rodgers and Hammerstein standard ‘My Favorite Things’ for the opening track with all its tradition in jazz performance. It’s not Coltrane or Grant Green but a haunting music box adaptation at super slo-mo that’s almost In Bruges which is the same approach taken on title track by illustrious (and well known cinema soundtrack expert), Randy Newman.
On the rest of the album, Youn is joined by ACT label veterans Ulf Wakenius (guitars), Lars Danielsson (acoustic bass) and Zavier Desandre-Navarre (percussion) and with the assistance of Wakenius’ arrangements, there’s a proper cross section of themes.
For those that know their underground British acid folk circa 1968-1974 you’ll recognise Jackson C. Frank’s ‘My Name Is Carnival’ and Terry Cox’s ‘Moondog’ (featuring Nah on Kazoo and fantastic percussion by Zavier – can you imagine a jazz chilled Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band?).
Almost as dramatic is the Latin’n'skat of ‘Breakfast In Baghdad’ (written by Wakenius who recorded in Brazil in the mid 1980s) and just to show you how wide her range (and ambition is), check out her version of the rock classic ‘Enter Sandman’ (Metallica’s finest 5 minutes from 1991) and she’s really creepy on the crescendos (does as a duet with Wakenius on acoustic guitar).
Like label mate Nguy?™n L?™, whilst she can mix South and North American, Asia (with her arrangement of the Traditional Korean song ‘Kangwondo Arirang’ at one extreme) and European traditions (at the other extreme the pop-fran?ßais of ‘La Chanson D’H?©l?®ne’ avec Roland Brival doing a bit of the old Gallic charm).
The two tracks by Youn shows two distinct sides to the “Same Girl”. ‘Uncertain Weather’ being more of the haunting al a Billy Holiday (as is the Hall/Mendes ‘Song Of No Regrets’ with Lars Danielsson adding to the atmosphere on cello) and then ‘Pancake’ is more Manhattan Transfer meets a funked up James Blood Ulmar.
This all bodes well for the rest of her career and ACT continue to prove they are ‘Label Of The Year’ as they’ve gone and done it again with a fantastic album by a wonderful talent – it won’t be the same for this girl from now on, get on it now and enjoy!
Reviewed: Youn Sun Nah – Same Girl (The ACT Company) Cat. No: ACT 9024-2 Release date: 27th September 2010
1 My Favorite Things (4:00)
2 My Name Is Carnival (4:02)
3 Breakfast In Baghdad (5:56)
4 Uncertain Weather (3:22)
5 Song Of No Regrets (3:45)
6 Kangwondo Arirang (4:06)
7 Enter Sandman (4:52)
8 Same Girl (4:14)
9 Moondog (4:10)
10 Pancake (3:36)
11 La Chanson D’H?©l?®ne feat. Roland Brival (5:07)
Gilles Peterson :: 22nd January 2009 :: Original Soundtrack Material
There Will Be Blood : Jonny Greenwood – Open Spaces (Atlantic)
Benjamin Button : Alexandre Desplat – Love In Murmansk (Concord Records)
In Bruges : Carter Bellwell – Thugs Passing In The Night (Lakeshore Records)