Wed Nov 13
1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition and 2019 Jazz Artist-in-Residence for Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, pianist/composer Helen Sung has worked with jazz luminaries including the late Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Regina Carter, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Cecile McLorin Salvant. An aspiring classical piano and violin student in her native Houston, Texas, before encountering jazz while 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 presently maintains a rigorous schedule of performing, touring, recording, and teaching from her home base New York City.
Sung has six bandleader albums to her credit, but her most recent release Sung With Words might end up being her most celebrated to date. Made possible by a 2014 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Jazz Works grant, the project is the result of a collaboration between Sung and former National Endowment Chairman and California State Poet Laureate Dana Gioia. Showcased on NPR’s First Listen and the NPR/WBUR news program Here & Now, Sung With Words has also been lauded in such jazz publications as Downbeat and Jazztimes for its imaginative settings of Gioia’s poetry, whose work has been described as “resonant with music.” Utilizing jazz and poetry as catalysts to create new music, Sung With Words is a multi-movement work of original vocal songs and instrumental compositions (inspired by words) exploring themes of the
human condition: love, wonder, betrayal, melancholy and mystery.
For her appearance at Blues Alley, Sung brings a top-notch band featuring jazz stars hailing from the DC/Baltimore area: bassist Ben Williams, vocalist Christie Dashiell, and special guest Gary Thomas on saxophone/flute. Drummer Darrell Green rounds out the group. Find out more about Helen at www.helensung.com