When Youn Sun Nah sang duets a few years ago, it was usually with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius.
Today, the Korean singer returns to the duet, but with a specialist in acoustic and electric keyboards. And it’s not just anyone: Jon Cowherd, who we first discovered with fellow drummer Brian Blade’s band Fellowship.
Cowherd, who also frequently works as a producer with artists such as singer Lizz Wright, guarantees an accompaniment that creates an atmosphere particularly suited to vocals. Both discreet and enveloping, the atmosphere created by Cowherd magnificently enhances the voice of Youn Sun Nah, who has chosen a repertoire linked to singers as diverse as Nina Simone, Grace Slick (from Californian rock band Jefferson Airplane), Björk, Edith Piaf or Roberta Flack.
Far from standing in the shadow of her forebears, Youn inhabits these songs, often linked to “historic” interpretations such as “La Foule” or “Killing me Softly with his Song”, and reappropriates them with the grace of a deep yet remarkably fluid voice. This warm timbre and crystal-clear phrasing are brought to the fore in the intimate context of the duet, and from near-whisper or near-cry to supple scat, Youn Sun Nah makes a particularly expressive use of her impressive tessitura, without ever giving in to demonstration or technical performance.
Cowherd‘s role alongside her is remarkably relevant and musical, and the keyboardist takes only rare solos to punctuate the song in a cantabile vein that’s just right.
Youn will be touring this repertoire with pianists such as Bojan Z and Tony Paeleman, and we’re curious to hear how these top-notch musicians will create a showcase for a vocalist who obviously didn’t choose them by chance.
Elles, Hit Couleurs Jazz est également “Best of the Month” sur Couleurs Jazz Radio
Elles est sorti sous le label Warner Music, le 26 janvier 2024