Sung, Carter and Monk

David Johnston

Helen Sung in Vivienne Tam. Photo by Kathy Villacorta.


Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to hang at Dizzy’s Club and hear 2010 Composer-in-Residence Helen Sung and her band perform “Generations in Monk” with special guest, the legendary bassist Ron Carter. What was special about this performance was seeing and hearing the musical relationship between Helen and Mr. Carter – she was his student at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance while he was the Artistic Director.  And as such, the performances of works by Monk, Carter, and Helen’s originals exhibited an exuberance and joy created only by long-time friends.  Helen’s new piece Chaos Theory was a huge hit with the audience. I happened to be sitting between two scientists, who were amazed by Helen’s musical representation and concurred that chaos theory is the perfect description for jazz (and vice versa).  If you haven’t had a chance to hear Helen live, check out her itinerary to catch the next performance and say hi. She’s one of the nicest folks around. And if you’re into fashion, you may want to note what Helen’s wearing … she’s been collaborating with the fashion designer Vivenne Tam!


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