Album Review: Wall from Dabin Ryu
Artist: Dabin Ryu
South Korea-born pianist Dabin Ryu makes her debut as a solo artist with her self-released CD Wall. Featuring tracks that she composed, arranged, and produced, Ryu’s music is plentiful with jazz-inspired improvisations from guitarist Kevin Scollins and saxophonists Boyce Griffith, Nathan See and Zoe Obadia. Probing the jazz palette quite thoroughly, Ryu lets the musicians loose, creating a motley bouquet of rumpled churning and kaleidoscopic sprigs. The audience will glean that Ryu spans her wings, experimenting with the capabilities of the instruments and pairing instruments into innovative combinations.
The recording is bookend by the wiggling and squiggling horns fashioning “The Light” with spontaneous bursts and the elegant verses of Ryu’s keys tailoring “We Will Meet Again” to a torchlight glisten. In between, the tracks vary from the nomadic scrolls of Scollins’s guitar along “I’ll Never Know,” seguing into the swinging momentum of “Temple Run,” and reaching a crescendo rife with improvised exchanges performed by the saxophonists through “Moon.”
The soulful duet she pilots with vocalist Anthony Marsden on “Wall: Part 1” is a balm on the senses, transitioning into the upbeat tempo of “Wall: Part 2” stacked in flaring horns and rhythmic drum beats. The latter track has the horns shooting out like lancing spears across the melodic field. Going deeper into the recording, Ryu’s calm-like musings on the keys produce tranquilizing soundscapes across “Stillborn” and “Taxi Driver,” infusing dreamy vibrations and poetic verses into the listening experience.
A graduate of Berklee College of Music with a Masters in Jazz Studies from the Manhattan School of Music, Dabin Ryu is more than a product of her studies. Her imagination and drive to improvise is of her own making, imprinting each track with her individual stamp.
Dabin Ryu – vocals
Benjamin Young – bass
Willis Edmundson – drums
Boyce Griffith, Nathan See and Zoe Obadia – saxophones
Kevin Scollins – guitar