Thursday, January 12, 2012
Macy Chen, "After 75 Years" Fuses Jazz Vocals with Chinese Elements
Macy Chen is doing something unusual, and doing it well. Her recent CD After 75 Years (Twinz) gathers a small jazz-oriented ensemble to set off her vocals and the unique repertoire presented. And that repertoire is what sets the music apart. Six are Shanghai pop-jazz tunes from the '30s, then there are a couple of jazz standards sung in Mandarin and a couple of originals.
The resultant program wears well after many listens. Ms. Chen is in good voice, and the jazz artists expand the late-night tone with lots of nicely done obligatto.
The 75 years in the title refers to her grandfather's career doing jazz in Japan. Seventy-five years later Ms. Chen steps forward with another take on the Asian-jazz nexus.
The CD comes with an elaborate, well-conceived scrapbook-like booklet.
This is different. Different and very well-done.