With a new week, a new creative season upon us as I type these words, I accordingly turn to the very new. This morning it is Korean pianist Eunhye Jeong and her solo album Nolda (ESP-Disk ESP 5068). The title literally means "play," as in "playful activities" and most specifically for Jeong, "a fun, free-flowing action on the piano," as well as the "magic of music making." It is music meant to be heard on a musical as well as a psychological plane. Eunhye's first 20 years coming of age in South Korea is naturally a formative foundation for who she is as an artist today. In particular for this album the traditional painters of the mountainous landscapes of her homeland influence this music, as well as the many hikes she took into those mountains with her father.
Nolda embraces a brilliant inventiveness, a pianism that draws upon creatively open expression to cover a wide embrace of mountain-inspired feelings with no trace of the sort of cliches a lesser artist might rely upon to fill out the aural space. Eunhye Jeong is an original, a pianist with genuine creative thrust, with deeply exploratory expression. Take a listen to this and feel a new immediacy. I look forward to more from her. Meanwhile do not fail to hear this one.