A massively impressive start to promising career from a young musician with something to say.

Self Release

June Yun (voice); Shai Maestro (piano); Kanoa Mendenhall (bass); JK Kim (drums) with Vid Jamnik (vibraphone); Brad Kang (guitar); Nicola Caminiti (alto saxophone)

This is a powerful and personal statement from vocalist and composer June Yun, and  is all the more remarkable as this is her debut album.

A regular in the New York City jazz clubs where she now resides, Yun has performed with Jean Baylor, Joel Ross, Ingrid Jenson, Theo Bleckmann and Shai Maestro who also plays piano on this recoding. She has studied jazz and classical music in South Korea and the US and has received a Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

From her early appreciation of classical music, Yun has embraced jazz, R&B, pop and soul; but it is the influence of classical music and contemporary jazz that infuses her original compositions on this outstanding album.

Featuring a core band of herself and rhythm section, Yun cleverly brings in guests that are immediately integrated to the sound world that she has created and bring an added depth and tonal palette that strengthen the overall composition.

Each of the nine pieces are carefully thought out yet also leave space for the soloists. Yun’s role is very much within the ensemble as opposed to featured singer in the band, and her command of her voice is impressive. Whether singing a lyric, embracing the spoken word as on ‘Solid Waves’ or wordless vocalising she is at the heart of the music but not as the dominant voice.

The compositions move with an ease that is often graceful, and the music is allowed to breathe freely. Nothing is frenetic, even when the tempo is allowed to pick up on ‘Light In Your Eyes’ with an elegant and easy swing, and an earthy solo from alto saxophonist Nicole Caminiti in dialogue with the vibes of Vid Jamnik.

Caminiti also plays some delectable alto on the ballad ‘You, Whom She Saved’ with sparse yet supportive accompaniment from the rhythm section, and an expressive vocal from Yun.

Yun’s wordles vocals on ‘Enlightenment’ are a delight in framing the theme and set things up nicely for Shai Maestro’s piano solo. Mastro also gets in some fine work along with the vibraphone of Jamnik, but this should not detract from guitarist Brad Kang who contributes some lovely single note lines that lift the music.

It is this attention to detail, with everyone playing a little to say a lot that June Yun brings to her composing. Giving enough direction but not too much, Yun’s music sound fresh and exciting bringing elements of classical music along with the freedom of jazz and improvisation, and yet this sense and control of discipline shapes the music without stifling the creativity.

A massively impressive start to promising career from a young musician with something to say.