Friday, August 15, 2014
Sounds of Summer ’14: Jake Sherman and Song Yi Jeon Quintet
Sometimes, musical styles are so varied and wonderfully eclectic, it is impossible to pigeonhole them into a respective genre. This week’s Kendall Square concert series featured two artists whose diversity defies description. Jake Sherman offered a breath of fresh air with light piano pop yet also showcased depth with songs that were infused with jazz, ragtime and gospel sensibilities. The Song Yi Jeon Quintet, an unpredictable and unique blend of modern jazz and traditional Korean music also wowed, delivering one of the summer series’ most original acts.
Boston-based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Jake Sherman planted an earworm or two in the minds of lunchtime concert goers. His pop tunes, upbeat melodies and insanely catchy lyrics mirrored those of alternative rocker, Ben Folds. Playing with a bassist and drummer, Jake’s skills on the keys and harmonica provided rich, dynamic sound that lifted light, airy tunes.
Jake’s performance included a comprehensive review of his 2012 self-titled album with highlights like the whimsical and stirring “Make Believe” (during which he used a vocoder, a device that analyzes speech and transforms it into electronically transmitted information. Or in layman’s terms, a device that made his voice sound really, really cool.) Jake’s musical prowess came through time and time, whether playing the piano and harmonica simultaneously (how’s that for coordination?!?) or by covering songs from fellow up-and-coming artist Chris Weismann (which Jake joked, was his “duty to spread Weismann’s music.”)
Song Yi Jeon Quintet
Korean native Song Yi dished up one of the most unique performances Kendall Square has ever hosted. Backed by an ensemble of guitar, cello, drums and keyboard, the quintet and Song Yi showcased superb vocal range, impressive song writing skills and a jazz performance that travelled from traditional Korean music to the soul of scat. The Quintet gave the lunchtime crowd a taste of music outside the mainstream along with a catalogue of infectious, relatable melodies.
Song Yi has studied music all over the world (including classical composition at the University of Music and Fine Arts in Graz, Austria and Jazz Voice at the Music University in Basel, Switzerland.) So it comes as no surprise that her original compositions have a flavor and style uniquely her own. The Quintet performed Song Yi’s works, many which feature scat, the legendary jazz improvisation technique perfected by the immortal Ella Fitzgerald. Two notable numbers included “Nabi Chum” (butterfly in English) and “Straight.”
To hear more of Song Yi Quintet’s jazz check out their website for upcoming shows in the area.