In the middle of January, Jungsu Choi Tiny Orkester, a 12-piece South Korean jazz orchestra, dropped Tchuss Jazz Era. Tiny Orkester comprises five horns, cello, male voice, four-piece rhythm section, and the composer. Composing and arranging the music on Tchuss Jazz Era took three years.
Jungsu Choi is the composer, producer, and leader of Tiny Orkester. He studied jazz composition, film music, and electro-acoustic music at Vienna Conservatory and Kingston University, London. In 2011, with his London-based jazz band, Jungsu Choi New Jazz Orchestra, he released his debut album.
The first track on the album is “Stolen Yellow,” a fusion jazz number full of shifting, strident horns dropping down to a cool, compact guitar solo backed by a tumbling piano and burping brass. The music swells and ramps up only to descend once again to a mellow trombone and trembling piano.
“Anthropology” opens with crisp, stuttering percussion, followed by bright horns. There’s a Benny Goodman feel to the tune because of the way it bounces with energy, even though the piece combines elements of fusion and experimental jazz flavors. The antiphony of the horns is brilliantly arranged and performed.
“Nach Wien 224” begins with delicate emanations from the piano and guitar. When the drawling horns enter, the music assumes a cool cinematic coloration. Scatting vocal effects emulate the snorts of the horns, imbuing the tune with a Doris Day sensibility. “What If Ellington Didn’t Take the A Train” illuminates the atmosphere with vivid horns and a frenetic mood that drops to an unctuous trombone burbling with narrative hues.
“Spain” rides a dark, melancholic piano intro joined by a distant calling voice full of chant-like, strident tones. When the band enters, the music soars upwards, riding layers of brass. Solo instruments impinge on the waves of harmonic colors, accenting the tune with relevant tones. When the piano and bass assume control, the tune tip-toes along, slowly building intensity. It then features an ebullient flute.
The complexity of colors infusing Tchuss Jazz Era is marvelous. And while the arrangement of tempo changes boggles the mind, it still titillates the ears. If you’re a jazz aficionado, you don’t want to miss Tchuss Jazz Era.