Jonathan Ng is reviewed by JAZZ2LOVE with his new album The Sphynx

JAZZ2LOVE

Album Review: The Sphinx from Jonathan Ng

Album:  The Sphinx
Artist:  Jonathan Ng
Label:  Self-Released
Website:  http://jonathanngmusic.com

Old-time ragtime and swing are coalesced with contemporary jazz trimmings on violinist-vocalist-bandleader Jonathan Ng’s new CD The Sphinx.  Fun and refined, the music is laden in the jaunty beats of drummer Josh Collazo and upright bassist Seth Ford-Young, and fringed in the perky swivels and swirls of Ng’s violin and Albert Alva’s tenor saxophone.  Their melodic patterns are augmented by a spritz of Chris Dawson’s bubbly piano keys and Luca Pino’s breezy guitar chords.  Comprised of snazzy covers that re-fashion timeless jazz standards along with Ng’s own original composition in the title track, the recording is a fresh look on swing themes and ragtime motifs.

Starting from the close of the recording, Ng’s version of Hoagy Carmichael’s reflective piece “Stardust” is mesmerizing as Ng’s violin trades solos with Dawson’s keys, each giving the track a palliative luster.  The sextet transitions into a swinging cadence in the prancing rhythm driving Ray Charles’s bluesy romp “Rockhouse Pt. 1 & 2,” projecting the chugging beats associated with balboa or LA swing music, used to entice couples to dance in a close embrace.

Springing forward, the flashing tweets of Alva’s saxophone rippling along “Embryo” trade off solos with Ng’s jutting violin strings, making for a percolating number reminiscent of the Lindy hop.  Ng’s refreshing treatment of old-time musical styles and tempos thrusts these tunes into current times. The sextet’s remake of Erkine Hawkins’ frolicking whirlwind “Gin Mill Special” gives the ragtime-esque tunage of the piano keys a splash of contemporary trimmings with the whimsical strokes of Ng’s violin and Alva’s saxophone.  Ng’s own original offering in the title track pairs the thrusting beats of ragtime with the merriment synonymous with swing.

Ng shows that the sounds of the violin can emit a jazz-imbued tone, a trait that a handful of violinists tempt.  Replenishing the magnetism of the music of 1920’s and ’30s like balboa/LA swing, the Lindy hop, and ragtime makes for a delightful visit for audiences.

Musicians:
Jonathan Ng – violin and vocals
Albert Alva – tenor saxophone
Luca Pino – guitar
Chris Dawson – piano
Seth Ford-Young – upright bass
Josh Collazo – drums

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