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Helen Sung Releases Solo Piano Video for “Feed The Fire”

Pianist/Composer Helen Sung Releases New

Solo Piano Video for Geri Allen’s “Feed The Fire”

from Vibrant New Album Quartet+,

Available Now via Sunnyside Records

New Tour Dates Announced

Watch the Video for “Feed The Fire”

Upcoming Helen Sung Performances:

November 1 – 2 | Artist Residency @ Berklee Institute of Jazz & Gender Justice | Boston, MA

November 9 | The Django (w. Mingus Big Band) | New York, NY

November 17 – 19 | Brazosport College (w. T.S. Monk Sextet) | Lake Jackson, TX

November 20 | Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club (w. Warren Wolf) | Portsmouth, NH

November 28 | Kalisz International Jazz Piano Festival

(Quartet+ feat. Atom String Quartet) | Kalisz, Poland

December 3 | New Brunswick Performing Arts Center

(w. Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble) | New Brunswick, NJ

January 5 | JEN Annual Conference | Dallas, TX

January 16 – February 5 | European Tour; Full Dates TBA

+ Forthcoming U.S. Spring Tour To Be Announced

Pianist/composer and 2021 Guggenheim Fellow Helen Sung celebrates the work of influential women composers on her latest album Quartet+, crafting new arrangements of tunes by Geri Allen, Carla Bley, Mary Lou Williams, Marian McPartland and Toshiko Akiyoshi while carrying the tradition forward with her own stunning new works. Co-produced by violin master Regina Carter, the album pairs Sung’s quartet with the strings of the GRAMMY® Award-winning Harlem Quartet in an inventive meld of jazz and classical influences.

Available now on Sunnyside RecordsQuartet+ was conceived and produced during the Covid-19 pandemic and made possible by a grant from the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre with additional support from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Queens Arts Council. It allows Sung, who also studied classical violin, to realize a long-held dream of writing for strings while maintaining the improvisatory spark of her stellar quartet, featuring saxophonist and flutist John Ellis, bassist David Wong, and drummer Kendrick Scott.

Sung crossed paths with the acclaimed Harlem Quartet during a cross-genre performance with clarinetist Eddie Daniels at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2018. She immediately approached the musicians after the show to suggest a collaboration. The opportunity came with the NYC Women’s Fund grant, which also gave the project a direction Sung had not previously ventured into with her own music, following on work undertaken with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and Roxy Coss’ Women In Jazz Organization.

“In the past I tried to avoid the whole ‘women in jazz’ thing because I felt music should speak for itself,” she says. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to feel that’s not the most complete way to deal with it. So I’m starting to grapple with the issues, and will do my best to approach things with honesty and candor.”

It’s hardly the first time she’s explored the work of the composers represented on Quartet+, however. In 2007 she won the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition and has since paid tribute to the history-spanning pianist at Harlem Stage and on NPR. She was a guest on Marian McPartland’s revered Piano Jazz in 2006 and has performed in tributes to Geri Allen in the wake of Allen’s untimely death in 2017. Allen’s “Feed the Fire” begins the album in dramatic fashion, with a striking new counter melody added to the original’s blistering rhythms.

Despite the stresses of the pandemic, Sung is enjoying a particularly fruitful period, with several fascinating projects in the works aside from the release of Quartet+. She’ll apply her 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship to a multi-movement piece for big band slated for completion in 2022. With a Chamber Music America Digital Residency grant, she’s producing a series of events this year using the tragic recent attacks on the AAPI community as a catalyst for interdisciplinary events with her quartet and a poet, a DJ and an installation artist. Sung also received a New Music USA 2021 Music Creator Development Fund grant for a collaborative project with dancer and neuro-rehabilitation researcher Miriam King to create a dance program with original music for dementia/Alzheimer’s patients. Sung remarks, “If I’ve learned anything this past year and a half, it’s to not take anything for granted, be it people, relationships, opportunities…so I’m jumping in with arms wide open. I want to swallow life whole!”

Helen Sung | Quartet+

Sunnyside Records | Release Date: September 17, 2021

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