Chien Chien Lu – The Path (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 51:03 minutes | 537 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Chien Chien Lu
Classically trained in contemporary percussion in her native Taiwan, Chien Chien Lu, the emergent vibraphonist best known, to date, for recording and touring with the Jeremy Pelt Quintet, is excited to release “The Path”, her genre melding debut as a leader.
Accompanying Chien Chien are an elite cast of musicians, a group sourced principally from Pelt’s ensemble—with the blessing of the maestro, of course. Such a strong blessing, in fact, that Pelt himself appears here on his young protégé’s debut, alongside bandmates Richie Goods on acoustic and electric bass, Allan Mednard on drums, and Ismell Wignall on congas/percussion.
Goods, in addition to producing the album and arranging its two most recognizable standards, introduced Chien Chien to guitarist Quintin Zoto and pianist Shedrick Mitchell, both of whom prove indispensable here. Though this is not the first time Chien Chien and Mitchell have played together—both played on Goods’ most recent release, My Left Hand Man, a tribute to Goods’ mentor, the late pianist Mulgrew Miller. And so here we have yet another example of jazz’s circle of life: musicians paying mentorship forward.
Rounding out the band are violinist Yoojin Park and cellist Phoebe Tsai, two female instrumentalists who, like Chien Chien, live in New York City and are on the ascent—something in which Chien Chien takes great pride. “As a female musician, I feel really excited when I see other females shining on the scene,” she said.
And shine they do, both often and early. On the album’s opener, a take on Roy Ayers’ oft-sampled neo-soul classic “We Live in Brooklyn Baby,” they combine to form a rich and unyielding foundational layer.
Arranging an Ayers tune falls right in Chien Chien’s wheelhouse. While a grad student at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, she joined Philly-favorites Vertical Current in an Ayers tribute show. Few combined jazz, funk and soul quite like Ayers, and if The Path is an indication, Ayers’ universalist approach to genre is something Chien Chien aspires to.
1. Chien Chien Lu – We Live in Brooklyn Baby
2. Chien Chien Lu – Invitation (feat. Jeremy Pelt)
3. Chien Chien Lu – Blind Faith
4. Chien Chien Lu – The Path Interlude, Pt. 1
5. Chien Chien Lu – Blossom in a Stormy Night
6. Chien Chien Lu – Blue in Green
7. Chien Chien Lu – The Path Interlude, Pt. 2
8. Chien Chien Lu – The Imaginary Enemy
9. Chien Chien Lu – Tears and Love
10. Chien Chien Lu – The Path Interlude, Pt. 3
11. Chien Chien Lu – The Path
12. Chien Chien Lu – Mo’ Better Blues