【Jo-Yu Chen - Incomplete Soul】(2011)[Repost]★★★★

(English follows Japanese)


★My Favorite Album (371)


By Takaki Kondo, Tokyo Jazz Review




内容もさすがに大手のSony Musicがすぐに契約しただけあるな、と思わせる非常にQqualityの高い作品です。全曲を占めるオリジナル曲が文句なくカッコイイ! と言っても彼女の表現は非常にシンプルです。決して「おしゃべり」にならない。本来ならその超絶技巧を出しちゃいがちなのに、彼女は左手のコンピングも極力省いて、まるで管楽器のように丁寧に右手でシングルノートを紡(つむ)いでいきます。オーボエ奏者であった事がスタイルに影響しているようにも感じます



Jo- Yu Chen: piano

Christopher Tordini: bass

Tommy Crane: drums

Andy Lin: erhu(1)

(Track Listing)
1. Wandering Songstress

2. Chess

3. Incomplete Soul

4. Improv 1

5. Black Forest

6. Love Letter

7. Tipsy Cat

8. Departure

9. Improv 2

10. Dreamer

11. Follow Me

12. Improv 3

13. Red Bean


Jo- Yu Chen - Website


Offcial Website





Preview & Buy CD


EPK (Video & Audio)

Jo-Yu Chen Trio -- "Incomplete Soul"

Jo-Yu Chen trio -- follow me



Where most musicians today release a record as a statement that they have arrived, Jo-Yu Chen's recording Incomplete Soul characterizes the ongoing journey of musical exploration which the pianist began with Obsession (Sony, 2010). Opening with the erhu (two-stringed Chinese violin) opening to "The Wandering Songstress," the record is a musical metaphor of Chen herself. In honor of her Taiwanese heritage, she chose this song and two others"Chess" and "Red Bean"- to display her Asian cultural roots, while masterfully blending in a Western jazz influence. Classically trained as an oboist and then pianist, Chen plays with a spatial imagery strongly based on what is left out. The other compositions are originals, and seem to invoke a sense of emotional or physical travel and motion. Chen composes with an innovative flair for setting up visual concepts, and is comfortable in her responsibility. From the title track to "Black Forest" and "Departure," to what she calls her rock number, "Follow Me," the music flows brilliantly, with exuberance and grace. Rites of passage would not be complete without ballads pulling on the heartstrings, so Chen delivers a "Love Letter," and then portrays herself as a "Dreamer." She allows her lighthearted side to come out with "Tipsy Cat" before unleashing her rebellious nature in three short improvisations simply called "Improv 1, 2 and 3," as if to show she can stretch out or blow off steam. Bassist Christopher Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane understand her musically, and are faultless accompanists for her style of composition, with its light touch and approach. Incomplete Soul is an ideal example of the expression of original nature. Chen may be influenced by the music of the world around herparticularly her immersion into jazzbut it is her personal individuality which defines her as a consummate musician. The journey continues.



Taiwanese-born pianist Jo-Yu Chen is going somewhere. The cover photo of her Incomplete Soul shows the artist in the back seat of a car, gazing at an indeterminate distance, with a look of quiet, unyielding determination on her face. Her journey with this recording is one of a melding of her classical influences with the improvisational aspect of jazz, and to an extent an East/West blend of sound. She begins with her original, "The Wandering Songstress," opening with the eerily voice-like cry of the Chinese ehru, a two-string violin. The wandering strings give way to the piano trio, and the sedate intro mutates to a prickly and audacious momentum that leans out over the edge before a closing shift into a drifting piano reverie. Chen is not a cautious artist. More than any other format except for solo piano, the art of the piano trio is one in which the personality/artistic vision of the leader can't help but rise up unadorned. Chen hasn't let her classical background constrain her: "Chess 1" slides back and forth between reverie and adventure over some inspired drum work from Tommy Crane, who punctuates the steady foundation with which bassist Christopher Tordini augments Chen's percussive angles. The title tune searches, with Tordini's big notes bouncing off Chen's succinct phrases, while "Improv 1" flies out over the edge, the trio bursting into flight in a fractured and fractious mood that coalesces into a tranquil fadeout. The Chen-penned "Love Letter" opens with a five-note bass declaration that sets the stage for a somber mood which sounds like love of the wistful or unrequited kind, while "Tipsy Cat" has the jauntiness, bravado and devil-may-care attitude of incipient intoxication. The compositions on Incomplete Soul are mostly Chen's. She has a gift for a memorable melody and true voice of her own, and writes a killer rock song with "Follow Me." Hers is, indeed, a piano voice to follow.