For the pianist’s third CD (not counting Live at the Blue Note, only available online), Helen Sung has chosen to go in a completely new direction. While last year’s excellent trio release, Helenistique, focused on standards and jazz classics, with Sungbird (after Albéniz) she returns to her musical roots. Classically trained, Sung didn’t pick up on jazz until college, and then went on to become a semi-finalist in the 1999 Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Competition. In 2006 she took the band on this CD-saxman Marcus Strickland, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Nasheet Waits (but not percussionist Samuel Torres)-on a tour of Spain and Andorra. She decided to arrange for the group a classical work by a Spanish composer, and chose “España, Op.165,” a suite of six pieces for solo piano, written in 1890 by Isaac Albéniz.
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