2009 11 19

Posted by in: Music

On Friday Yoon will be performing a gig at the United Nations, of all places. (It seems I get to go to some sort of VIP party beforehand!) Details here. Briefly, it’s part of a larger simultaneous performance in San Diego, Banff, Belfast and Seoul, as well as New York. I’m told the music is avant garde improvisational stuff, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sounds interesting, and they’ve got some really serious musicians on the gig.

Anyway, you can come too! It’s apparently being broadcast on the internet. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you can get an RSVP for the web broadcast. The page says that space is limited to 200 people, but I hear that it’s been opened up since that information went up.

I’m looking forward to it. Yoon was a bit hazy on the details, but it sounds like they were rehearsing in the room they use for the general assembly, and I think that’s where they’ll be performing it. Neato!

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2009 06 21

Posted by in: Music

A few days ago I noticed a beeping noise coming from outside our apartment, probably from the apartment directly across from us. At first I thought the batteries in some appliance were going out, but the people across from us seem to be ill, and my current theory is that the beeping is part of some medical device. Of course I’m too polite to say anything to them about it.

It’s just loud enough that I can always hear it. Since I first noticed it, it’s gone continuously, every few seconds. What’s especially annoying about it is that it doesn’t quite go at regular intervals. I’m pretty good at tuning things out, and I think if the beeping were at regular intervals, I could tune it out in the way we learn to ignore the regular ticking of a clock. But the irregularity of the beeping means that I start to half-consciously anticipate the beep when it’s due, or experience a micro-moment of surprise when it sounds slightly ahead of schedule. A stimulus that is constantly changing is hardest to ignore. Because I’m sort of a fresh air fanatic, this means that we need to sleep with white noise playing, or I’ll lie in bed anticipating the beep. It’s pretty annoying.

You know what else is annoying? People who pester me to use the august authority of this blog to promote their own projects. I won’t say who has recently begun a campaign of harassment and threats, except that he occasionally comments here and that he has haunted my life for the last 16 years like some malevolent trickster god. He wants me to mention XXX Live Nude Girls, a barbie doll opera, which is premiering at this year’s Summerworks Festival in Toronto. I’m obliging him now with a link only because I believe that if you don’t give in to people who make threats, they’ll never go away and leave you in peace.

Of course I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t vouch for it. I can, however, grudgingly admit to the high quality of at least some of the people associated with the show. Toca Loca seems to be involved with it somehow. I’ve seen them live twice, and they’re electrifying. The vocalist Christine Duncan is also part of the project. Her strange, creepy, inventive album Barnyard Drama: Memories and a List of Things To Do is fantastic.

Anyway, I include an exclusive promotional picture for the show below the fold, mainly to show you, concerned reader, what the world is coming to these days.

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Howls of outrage (17)

2009 05 22
Ahmad Jamal tribute

Posted by in: Jazz, Music

I mentioned earlier that Yoon is recording a live CD this Friday and Saturday at IBeam. Everybody’s welcome! Yoon goes on at 9:30pm sharp both nights for the second set.

In the first set of tomorrow night’s show (at 8:30pm) Jacob Sacks, Vinnie Sperrazza and Thomas Morgan will be doing a tribute to Ahmad Jamal’s But Not for Me: Live at Pershing Lounge 1958. It’s a funny project for these musicians, since I’ve never heard them play the same song in remotely the same way. But tomorrow night they’ll be lovingly recreating the album. They’re rehearsing it in my living room as I type this, and it sounds pretty fucking great.

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2009 05 08
A month at Ibeam

Posted by in: Music

Yoon’s E-String Band begins a month’s residency at IBeam this Saturday. The band is composed of jazz musicians, but the music isn’t really jazz. I’m not sure how to describe it: odd improvised pop, maybe? Anyway, it’s fun stuff. Here’s the listing for all the shows. (The opening acts look really fun too.)

Update: Oh, and the band will be recording a live album on the May 22nd and the 23rd performances. Come out and add your clapping to the album.

Saturday, May 9th

8:30PM: Justin Keller’s “Land of Leland”
9:30PM: Yoon Sun Choi and The E-String Band

Friday, May 15th

8:30PM: Lady Clown
9:30PM: Yoon Sun Choi and The E-String Band

Friday, May 22nd

8:30PM: Jacob Sacks/Orlando Hernandez
9:30PM: Yoon Sun Choi and The E-String Band

Saturday, May 23nd

8:00PM: Jacob Sacks/Thomas Morgan/Vinnie Sperrazza
8:30PM: Yoon Sun Choi and the E-String Band

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2009 03 31
Yeah Yeah Records and Friends Festival

Posted by in: Music

If you’re in or close to Brooklyn, Yeah Yeah Records is curating a month of Fridays in April at I-Beam. It’s a nice line up, spanning from avant garde jazz to New Music.

Yeah Yeah Records Festival – Every Friday in April.

April 3rd, 2009
8:00pm soloists: Akiko Sasaki (piano) and Miranda Sielaff (viola)
9:00pm Yoon Sun Choi and Jacob Sacks Duo
10:00pm Matt Renzi Trio

April 10th, 2009
8:00pm Dan Weiss (drums)
9:00pm Jacob Sacks Quintet
10:00pm Ok/Ok

April 17th, 2009
8:00pm Khabu Doug Young
9:00pm Stacken/Knuffke Duo
10:00pm Bishop/Cleaver/Flood Trio

April 24th, 2009
8:00pm Josh Sinton
9:00pm Vinnie Sperrazza/Matt Blostein Quintet
10:00pm Jacob Sacks and Eivind Opsvik’s Two Miles A Day with Mat Maneri

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2008 10 22
Choi and Sacks on the radio

Posted by in: Music

Yoon and her friend Jacob are hosting a radio show today, from 6pm to 9pm EST. You can listen while the show is in progress on the internets. They’ll be playing some of their own music, and some other stuff.

Howls of outrage (3)

2008 04 06
What I’ve been up to lately

Posted by in: Anecdotal, Music

Life is good! I’ve been busy. In February I designed a website for the new music group Toca Loca. I saw them play live last year as part of the Wordless Music Series and the show was incredible. They have clips on the site very much worth listening to.

More recently, I’ve just completely overhauled Yeah Yeah Records, our little label, complete with a manifesto. Very exciting. It’s still a little rough around the edges (for example, the store still isn’t set up to execute a sale directly yet, so for now I’ve just set all the inventory for 0 on all items), but we’ll work all that out.

The site overhaul coincides with a publicity campaign to promote Yoon’s latest CD. We hired a publicist! Using our credit cards!

Not content to be starting up just one business, I’ve also gone and started (for some value of “started” – it’s complicated since we’re inheriting something else that already had a certain amount of momentum and a portfolio) an IT Consultancy with a friend.

This means, of course, that my dissertation is on hold. I’m still not sure what I’ll be when I grow up, but right now I’m having fun pursuing these other things, so I think I’ll keep on pursuing them.

Howls of outrage (4)

2008 02 06
Yours for a low, low price

Posted by in: Jazz, Music

I noticed recently that 4inObjects‘s CD, released in 2006, is now selling for surely-irresistibly low prices on Amazon’s Marketplace (i.e., listed by private sellers on Amazon). Some of the CDs listed there seem to be offered in the original wrapping. I suppose this is what happens when you have a mass mailing: some of those CDs will reach weary music reviewers who decide that it’s better for them to sell the CD immediately, unopened, than to listen to it. Oh well.

Anyway. It’s good! Here’s the first track, written by Yoon, which sounds to me like it’s about an obsessive love affair with someone who is just no good. I assume that the song does not refer to me.

Howls of outrage (2)

2008 01 10
Yoon in Kingston, Ontario

Posted by in: Music

In case you live in, or know anyone who lives in, Kingston, Ontario, you might be interested in seeing Yoon perform with the Kingston Symphony and the Greg Runions Big Band on Friday, January 18th, 2008. It’s almost all standards: Ray Charles, Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, etc., etc. Should be a fun show. I wish I could make it.

(Yoon isn’t actually listed on the program for some reason. Rest assured that she’s the only singer performing that night. She’ll do about 13 or 14 songs.)

If you want tickets, go here, and then click “Buy your tickets now!” on the left, and then “January,” you’ll see “In the mood – best of the big bands” playing at the Kingston Gospel Temple.

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2007 12 16
Gig Thursday

Posted by in: Music

If you miss this one, you’ll surely regret it for years, if you have any sense, which you probably don’t, if you miss this one. You know, I’m not sure I’m cut out for advertising. Anyway:

If you are free, please come to my show at Cornelia Street Cafe this Thursday at 8:30pm. The first set will be a set of duos and the 10pm set will be the E-String Band. I do hope that you can share the evening with me. It’s my last gig for the year and I would love to see you all!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Yoon Sun Choi

Thursday, December 20

Duets with:
Miranda Sielaff – viola
Vinnie Sperrazza – drums
Mike MicGinnis – woodwinds
Khabu Doug Young – ukulele
Judith Berkson – voice
and a few other surprises I hope

The E-String Band
Jacob Sacks – melodica
Thomas Morgan – guitar
Khabu Doug Young – ukulele
Vinnie Sperrazza – percussion

Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street
(F/V/B/D/A/C/E train to West 4th)


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2007 12 06
The People’s Symphony

Posted by in: Music

Have you heard of the People’s Symphony? If not, that may be because they don’t advertise. They’re a NYC nonprofit founded in 1900 to bring music to “students, teachers, workers, and others unable to pay normal ticket prices.” Yoon and I have subscriptions this year, and so far we’ve seen the Guarnari Quartet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and Emmanuel Ax – in other words, world class shows, except that with a subscription they work out to a little less than $6 a pop. Non-subscription tickets run $9 a show.

This is very reasonable, I think. It’s not your typical concert experience to be sure. The shows are in a high school auditorium, with very uncomfortable seats. And although I don’t have a great deal of experience with crowds at classical concerts, I suspect that the audience at these events is slightly more likely to let a cell phone go off, to shush disturbances more loudly than the disturbances themselves, and to do other things that make me hold my head in my hands. But all in all we’ve found it a great deal, and if you live in NYC, you’re seriously broke, and you enjoy good music, then you should really give it a try. See you there.

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2007 11 28

Posted by in: Music

Says A.M. Lamey:

There are now two kinds of people in the world: those who have seen Gregorius on Youtube and those who have not. Those who have know that the Finnish singer’s version of “YMCA” was the breakout viral video of the summer, when it was watched by over a million people online.

Up until five minutes ago, I belonged in the latter category. Now that I have moved into the former category, I am not entirely certain of the wisdom of the move. If you want to chance it, here’s one, courtesy of Lamey:

Howls of outrage (3)

2007 11 26
Music lessons in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Posted by in: Music

I’ve been meaning to mention for a while now that if you live in NYC and want voice and/or piano lessons (for any age), Yoon is a great teacher. She’s got two degrees (one in piano and composition and one in jazz voice performance) and about 20 years of teaching experience. She has a studio in mid-town Manhattan and another one in our home in Flatbush (Ditmas Park area), Brooklyn. In the coming year Yoon and a friend will also be starting a program in Flatbush for three and four year olds called Musical Explorers. If you’re interested in more information, just drop me a note in the contact form.

And if you live in NYC and you’re interested in any other instrument, we know lots of very talented musicians and teachers in NYC and are always happy to give recommendations.

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2007 11 22
Chain of Fools

Posted by in: Music

You’ve no doubt heard Aretha Franklin’s version of Chain of Fools (mp3, for a limited time). But you might not have heard Norwegian Jazz Singer Sidsel Endresen’s cover of the tune. Endressen sings it unaccompanied, and the spare, lonely quality of her performance does a superb job of exploring some of the anguish in the lyrics. Endressen manages somehow to convey the impression that she’s lingering over every hurt recounted in the song, while at the same time allowing you to feel the pulse of the music moving beneath the surface, carrying everything along with it. For a very limited time, here it is, from the very good album Night Song.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2007 11 18
Useful phrase watch: “mbuki mvuki”

Posted by in: Language, Music

May you find this useful:

Mbuki Mvuki is Bantu for “to shuck off one’s clothes in order to dance.”

It’s not a single word, but I think it’s pithier than the English gloss.

Howls of outrage (4)