International artists jazzing up the music scene

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International artists jazzing up the music scene

Sprituals from the American Deep South, a tribute to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and jazz meets ambiant piano ?the February line-up for concerts in Seoul promises to be exciting.

The Spiritual Singers of Harlem

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Seoul Arts Center and Wednesday, 8 p.m., Hoam Art Hall

The Spiritual Singers of Harlem is dedicated to preserving the American Negro spiritual. The group, comprised of six singers, a pianist and a percussionist, preaches "the gospel of the gospel."

In addition to its Seoul shows, the group will be performing in Daegu, Daejeong, Jeonju, Jeju and Busan.

For its concerts in Korea, the chorus will be singing numbers like "Amazing Grace," "When the Saints go Marching In" and "Go Down Moses."

Tickets are 30,000 to 70,000 won ($25-60) for the Seoul Arts Center, and 30,000 to 50,000 won for Hoam Art Hall. For information, call the concert promoters Credia at (02) 751-9606.

Directions in Music

Wednesday, 8 p.m., Kyung Hee University Peace Hall

Last year the pianist Herbie Hancock, tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and the hottest young trumpet player around Roy Hargrove teamed up to pay tribute to Miles Davis and John Coltrane in a series of concerts all over North America. Their Toronto show was recorded and released in the much lauded album "Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall," released by Verve Records.

About Davis and Coltrane, Hancock says, "They were the ones who encouraged us to explore and discover new ways of treating music, new perspectives. That's what it was all about, to follow their lead, to take the very pieces they were associated with and put our own spin on it."

The concerts revitalized the artists' passion for jazz. Now the three musicians are bringing their show to the rest of the world. After Korea, the group flies to Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.

Tickets for their Seoul concert range from 40,000 won to 100,000 won, and are available at or by calling Jazzbiz, the show's organizers, at (02) 323-7532.

Brad Mehldau

Thursday, 8 p.m. Yonsei University Centennial Hall

When Brad Mehldau plays the piano, he creates sonic landscapes. The sounds are intense and emotional, yet understated. The Chicago Tribune praises his "elliptical lines, volatile rhythmic figures and unexpected bursts of color and dissonance."

Mehldau began with training in classical music, then experimented with jazz and rock. With a strong command of classical techniques, he makes abstractions, rearranging music to create unsettling sounds. His reworkings of songs by the alt-rock favorites Radiohead, for example, have drawn praise.

His latest album, "Largo," was released in Korea in September. Here, he included horns, strings and electronics and he worked with Jon Brion, whose past productions have included albums by the artists Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple.

Mehldau has been twice nominated for jazz Grammys and in 1999 was named the Jazz Pianist of the Year by Down Beat magazine. This will be his third concert in Korea.

Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won and are available at or by calling Vincero, the show's promoter, at (02) 599-5743.

by Joe Yong-hee

Next Friday in J-Week, more jazz concerts.
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