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EXPLOREPerforming Arts

Jazz Brings Us Together 2018: Jihye Lee Ensemble & Blake Meister Quartet image

Jazz Brings Us Together 2018: Jihye Lee Ensemble & Blake Meister Quartet

The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents the annual Jazz Brings Us Together, a groundbreaking joint performance by two acclaimed, cutting-edge jazz groups from Korea and the United States, featuring in 2018 the Jihye Lee Ensemble and the Blake Meister Quartet.

These two sensational groups will meet for the first time to introduce and blend their unique styles of contemporary jazz in a free performance at An Die Musik Live in Baltimore, Md. on Friday, June 15, presented in partnership with the D.C. Jazz Festival as a Fishman Embassy Series event. This joint performance celebrates harmony among Baltimore’s diverse regional communities through cultural exchange and a shared love of jazz music. Audiences won’t want to miss this stellar ensemble performance featuring top Korean and American artists in each group, plus an epic international jam session. 

The Jihye Lee Ensemble is led by New York-based Korean jazz vocalist and composer Jihye Lee. She released her first orchestra album, April, in 2017, garnering global praise as a fresh original voice on the jazz composition scene. Lee graduated from the Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music with numerous awards and scholarships, learning from and working with world-renowned faculty, including Jim McNeely and Greg Hopkins. Lee plans to release her original duet album with pianists Yoonseung Cho and Vardan Ovsepian in the near future.

The Blake Meister Quartet is led by bassist Blake Meister who has performed and recorded with a diversity of renowned musicians, including Marc Copland, David Kikoski, Gary Bartz, Steve Davis, and Warren Wolf.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP is required (below).

Jazz Brings US Together
WHEN: Friday, June 15 @ 7:30 p.m. 
WHERE: An Die Musik (409 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201)

About the Artists

Blake Meister is currently a bassist for the American Studio Orchestra, a multimedia, cross-genre ensemble. As an educator, he serves on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music at the Johns Hopkins University. With performances described as “inevitable, fitting...right at home...assured” (Ephland, All About Jazz), Meister is quickly garnering recognition among musicians and critics alike. Including on Septagon, he appears as a sideman on many albums, including Andrea Wood’s Dhyana, Todd Simon’s Simon Says, Levon Mikaelian’s United Shades of Artistry, Kurtis Adams’ Collage, and more.

Gary Thomas, hailed by JazzTimes as one of the most “original saxophone voices” of his generation, has secured a central place in jazz history. As a saxophonist, flutist, composer and educator, Thomas is second to none. As an educator, Thomas has continued to break new ground, founding the Peabody Conservatory Jazz Studies program in 2001 and becoming the first African-American department head in the school’s history. Later he became the first African-American endowed professor at the institute, as the Richard and Elizabeth Case Director of Jazz Studies. Thomas has been a competitive power lifter, and enjoys studying new languages, to which he draws a parallel to jazz and improvisation.

Billy Williams. Information TBA.  

Larry Willis, born in 1942 in Harlem, grew up around music; jazz was popular in his neighborhood. He did his musical studies at the Manhattan School of Music and at the age of 19 was discovered and recruited by saxophonist Jackie McLean, making his jazz recording debut on McLean's Blue Note release, Right Now! The album also included two of Willis' compositions. From that auspicious start, Willis went on to play with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Cannonball Adderley, Stan Getz, Carmen McRae, and Shirley Horn. From 1972 to '79, Willis was the keyboardist for the fusion group Blood Sweat and Tears. He has also been a crucial part of the Grammy-nominated Afro-Cuban jazz group Fort Apache. In all, Willis has appeared on more than 300 albums, with more than 20 recordings as a leader.

Jihee Heo, born and raised in Seoul, Korea, is a New York-based jazz pianist and composer. After moving to New York City in 2011, Jihee obtained her Master's Degree in Jazz Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2013, while studying under Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, Cecil Bridgewater and Dave Liebman. Jihee recently released her Nonet album Passion, which allowed her to fully explore her love of music composition as well as performance. 

Sungwon Kim has played guitar in the pit orchestra for the hit Broadway musicals Wicked and One Thousand Nights and One Day. Kim has collaborated with John Scofield (Miles Davis), Valerie Simpson (Marvin Gaye), and Mark Walker (Michael Brecker), among others. He graduated from Berklee College of Music (Magna Cum Laude, recipient of numerous awards and a full scholarship), the Musicians Institute, Los Angeles Music Academy (recipient of a scholarship), and NYU Steinhardt.

Sang Ouk Jung is a New York-based bass player. He started studying music at Kyung-Hee University in Korea as a post-modern music major. He moved to Boston, Ma. And began studying at the Berklee College of Music for his BM degree with Dave Santoro, John Lockwood, and others. He was selected to record albums as a sideman for Heechan Cha’s Souvenirs de L’hiver (2017), Haneul Park’s Reminiscence (2016), Leon Cotter’s Playing the Pool (2013), Jazz Revelation Records’ Ripple Effect (2012), and Saucy Lady’s Diversify (2011). His debut album as a leader will be released in 2018.

Jongkuk Kim is a drummer who studied at Berklee College of Music, where he was awarded a full scholarship. He has worked with jazz greats such as Dave Santoro, Hal Crook, George Garzone, Darren Barrett, John Clayton, Robin Eubanks, Maria Schneider, Rudresh Mahanthappa,‪ and Terence Blanchard, and has played in festivals and venues including Monterey, Blue Note Jazz Club, and the Toronto Jazz Festival, to name a few.‬‬‬