It seems that the art of contemporary band leading is by no means dying – in fact, it’s perhaps more virile and culturally inclusive as ever. Jungsu Choi’s Tiny Orkester is not only a feat of Korean genre-melding and sheer delivery of artistic goods, but also a modern jazz entry to be reckoned with. Incredibly precise and comprised of the guts of 1920s/30s American orchestras, Choi’s collection of music displays major alongside enormous talent.
Tchuss Jazz Era throws the listener into the well-oiled machine that is the Jungsu Choi Tiny Orkester with “Stole Yellow” absconding across its 8-minute runtime as if it were penned by Duke himself. Speaking of the man himself, the playfully anachronistic “What if Ellington didn’t take the A train” re-imagines the standards as well as providing a hyper-futuristic leap into the shapes of jazz to come.
Choi is prophetic, to say the least, but also knowingly humbled. The bandleader is sonically indebted to the progenitors of the genre he practices in, though Choi has easily himself become a scholar within the world of jazz. Despite a proclivity to help the process of jazz’s evolution along, Choi can’t help but escape from the vernacular of the Cotton Club. However, with a few listens of Tchuss Jazz Era it’s unlikely Jungsu Choi’s Tiny Orkester wants to exit the hyper-interesting niche they have found themselves in.
It’s rare to find such obvious homages to classic jazz in modern times contained in such a vehicle designed to subvert the genre – leave it Choi to accomplish the unthinkable.