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Seung-Hee: Sketches On the Sky

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Growing up in Seoul, Seung-Hee’s only exposure to anything approaching jazz singing happened around Christmastime, when her parents would play seasonal albums by Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Moving Stateside, she more than made up for the gaps in her jazz knowledge, earning degrees from Berklee and New England Conservatory and performing alongside the likes of Ran Blake, Lionel Loueke and Dominique Eade. Her deep appreciation for jazz harmony and her compositional skills were ably exhibited five years ago on her debut album, Waiting, but reach full flower throughout the boldly variegated Sketches on the Sky.

She opens with the wordless “Sketch, Part 1,” a swooping exercise that showcases the purity of a voice as haunting as it is arresting. The wordless adventure turns darker, almost threatening, on “Winter and Then,” before returning to its unbridled whirls through the nine-minute “Sketch, Part II.”

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