Pianist Helen Sung Announces Summer Tour Dates in New York, Akron, Chicago and Rochester
Award-winning pianist and composer Helen Sung is delighted to announce her multi-city summer itinerary for the Helen Sung Quartet. Starting in New York City with her yearly weekend run at the elegant Smoke Jazz and Supper Club June 3-5, she continues on June 8 to BLU Jazz+, Ohio's newest jazz venue, followed by four nights at the legendary Jazz Showcase in Chicago June 9-12.
Joining Helen will be long-time collaborators bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Rudy Royston. Tenor saxophonists John Ellis and Walter Smith III will fill out the quartet at Smoke and Jazz Showcase, respectively.
In July, Helen will make her leader debut at the 15th edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival with a special doubleheader weekend: a solo piano concert on July 1 at the Eastman School of Music, followed by two performances on July 2 with an all-star Quartet featuring alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Kendrick Scott at Montage Music Hall.
Building on the new found vistas of her 2014 Concord Jazz release, Anthem For A New Day, Sung continues the quest for artistic discovery with inspiration coming from diverse and unexpected places. For example, her growing familiarity with and admiration of Charles Mingus (through her work with the Mingus Big Band) has resulted in new compositions that speak, as he did so masterfully, to both contemporary and timeless issues facing our society. The colors and textures of Sung's classical training also continue to inform her jazz work in deeper and more profound ways. With music that has been called "soulful, " "smart, " punctuated by irresistible grooves, Sung is thrilling audiences everywhere.
Pianist/composer Helen Sung hails from Houston, TX, where she attended the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. An aspiring classical pianist before jazz intervened during undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Sung went on to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory) and win the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition. Now based in New York City, Sung has worked with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Victor Lewis, Steve Turre, Wayne Shorter, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter.
Sung's sixth release as leader, Anthem For A New Day (2014) was her major label debut on Concord Jazz. It topped jazz radio charts, reached #25 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart, and garnered a SESAC Performance Activity Award. With appearances at major festivals/venues including Newport, Monterey, Detroit, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall, Sung is also stepping onto the international stage: her NuGenerations Project toured southern Africa as a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, and recent engagements include European tours promoting Anthem, the London Jazz Festival, and Shanghai's "JZ Festival". In addition to her own band, Sung can currently be seen with such fine ensembles as the Mingus Big Band and Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project (she also performed on Terri Lyne Carrington's Grammy-winning album Mosaic Project).
A dynamic composer, Sung has completed various commissions and was awarded a 2014 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation "New Jazz Works" Grant, enabling her to create and premiere Sung With Words, a "music-inspiring-poetry-inspiring-music" collaborative project with acclaimed poet Dana Gioia, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and California's new Poet Laureate. Inspired by her experience at the Monk Institute, Sung stays involved in music education through residencies and workshops/clinics, and in the Fall of 2015 joined the jazz faculties at the Juilliard School and Columbia University.
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