Jazz With Ng
Bruce Von Stiers
Jonathan Ng is a versatile musical artist. He’s a bandleader, vocalist, violinist and has a few other musical talents. Aside from playing rock clubs, Ng has performed with people such as Greg Ruby, Gordon Webster, Josh Collazo and Squirrel Nut Zippers member Katherine Whalen.
Earlier this year, Ng released his latest effort, an EP titled The Sphynx. He produced the EP, which contains six songs and has a play time of twenty-two minutes. Ng also self released the EP.
The styling on The Sphynx is what is called small group swing. To me, it kind of blends swing and jazz combo styles, with a sliver of big band thrown in.
Ng plays violin on the songs. To help him out, there is Albert Alva on tenor saxophone, Luca Pina on guitar, Chris Dawson on piano, Seth Ford-Young on upright bass and Josh Collazo on drums. Alva has recorded with Rosemary Clooney and Clark Terry. Pina is a guitarist for Hedgehog Swing. Dawson is a much south after pianist, with collaborations with artists like jazz vocalist Janice Anderson. Ford-Young has performed with Barry Manilow and Tom Waits. Collazo has been a member of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zone and has his own group, the Candy Jacket Jazz Band.
The title track, The Sphynx, is up first. It is an original composition by Ng. It is a fast paced swing jazz piece with some great violin, mixed with nice bass, tough drums, smooth guitar and saxophone.
Ng takes a slightly different route with the Chu Berry song, Maelstrom. Instead of the saxophone being up front, like in the original, Ng uses the violin as the predominant instrument in the song. It is a very appealing adaptation of the song.
One of my favorite Ray Charles instrumentals is Rockhouse. Ng does a great job with the song, bringing in the violin for an added touch.
Yet another classic song is on the EP. This one is the Erskine Hawkins song, Gin Mill Special. You won’t be able to stop tapping your feet to this smile effecting rendition. .
Embryo is a song that was a hit for Illinois Jacquet back in 1947. Ng substitutes violin for trumpet in his rendition of the song. It is nicely done.
The EP concludes with a great rendition of the classic Hoagy Carmichael song, Stardust.
Jonathan Ng is an extremely talented violinist. His arrangements of the classic jazz songs on The Sphynx are excellent. And with the talented musicians who played on the EP with him, Ng has put together a great jazz listening experience.
The Sphynx can be found at most musical outlets and streaming services.
You can find more information about Jonathan Ng at his official web site, http://jonathanngmusic.com/