Local Jazz Musicians Look for Audiences, Promote Their Music

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Local Jazz Musicians Look for Audiences, Promote Their Music

Once in a Blue Moon, a jazz club in Cheongdam-dong, hosted the second Doobop Awards last Saturday. Vocalist Park Sung-yeon was inducted into the Hall of Fame, saxophonist Lee Jung-sik won Musician of the Year once again, Jung Malro won Best Vocalist, bassist Jun Sung-sik won Best Instrumentalist and pianist Han Chung-wan won Best Band Leader.

In most countries, jazz fans usually comprise five percent of music listeners, but in Korea, the percentage is less than one percent, according to Bibian J. Lee of Doobop magazine. "It's that much harder in Korea to earn a living as a jazz musician. It's significant that these musicians are surviving, some of them excelling."

Winners were selected by ballots submitted by jazz aficionados over the Internet and postcards sent by mail. The winners this year ranged from up-and-coming musicians to established ones.

The only exception to the open ballot was Ms. Park, who was nominated for entry to the Hall of Fame by her musician colleagues. Awarded a paint-ing, Ms. Park thanked the audience of 100 people, saying once her club, Yanus, also in Cheongdam-dong, reopened, she would put the painting on prominent display.

"Ms. Park is possibly Korea's most experienced jazz musician," Ms. Lee said. The 60-year-old singer has been running Yanus, one of the oldest jazz clubs in Korea, for over two decades.

Mr. Lee was awarded Musician of the Year for his energetic activities to promote jazz. He has given many performances and released an album at the end of 1999 titled "Hwadu." "I promise to work even harder," he said after receiving his award.

The award ceremony ended with a short performance by the Gwak Youn-chan trio. Last year, saxophonist Kim So-yul won Best Instrumentalist and pianist Shin Gwan-eung won Best Band Leader.

Last year's winners were on hand to welcome this year's notables. Since its birth three years ago, the upscale Doobop magazine has struggled to stay afloat due to the high cost of its production coupled with its niche readership. "We're always on the brink of bankruptcy, but we're going to try to keep going strong," Ms. Lee said.

by Joe Yong-hee

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