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Linda Oh

“Further proof that Esperanza Spalding is not the only female bassist-bandleader worthy of acclaim.”
LA Times

“On her terrific second album, bassist and composer Linda Oh digs deep within her personal history and surrounds herself with top-flight musicians to bring her ideas to life in full-blown color.”
eMusic

“Oh’s compositions are affecting with convincing narratives … ”
Down Beat

“President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Walk softly and carry a big stick,” epitomizes Linda Oh, the soft-spoken bassist/composer who draws total respect with her intrepid musicianship.”
All About Jazz

” … an eclectic blend of music as diverse as the bassist’s background.”
No Treble

Linda Oh

With her debut CD, Entry, bassist/composer Linda Oh asserted herself as a unique new voice on the modern jazz scene. On her follow-up, Initial Here, Oh draws deeply upon her rich cultural heritage and broad range of inspirations to further define her musical autobiography.

The quartet that Oh assembled to realize this eclectic blend of material are all equally adept at integrating diverse influences. Dayna Stephens is a graduate of both Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and is also a skilled bassist in his own right. Cuban-born pianist Fabian Almazan was a classmate of Oh’s at the Manhattan School of Music, where the two quickly formed a musical bond; Oh continues to perform in Almazan’s thrilling trio. And Rudy Royston has become the drummer of choice for artists as diverse as powerhouse saxophonist JD Allen, groundbreaking guitarist Bill Frisell, and forward-thinking bassist Ben Allison.

“Thicker Than Water,” which features vocals in Mandarin Chinese and English by the gifted multilingual vocalist Jen Shyu, is the most direct result of that journey. Essentially a duet between Shyu and Oh, emoting soulfully on both bowed bass and bassoon, the piece is a tribute to Oh’s grandmothers and other female forebears. “They had it really tough,” Oh explains. “They went through a lot and here I am playing music for a living. The immigrant mentality of picking up your whole family and moving to another place for a better life is something very deep and special, and I connect with that sense of always having to work harder because of what our family did for us.”

Oh’s classical influences also make an appearance in the quartet’s impactful rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s “Something Coming,” from West Side Story. Their take was inspired by the stark version by pianist Ran Blake and vocalist Jeanne Lee. In its final moments, the quartet transitions into a small piece of Stravinsky’s piano work “Les Cinq Doigts (The Five Fingers).”

The opening track, “Ultimate Persona” deals most directly with the idea of personal identity, inspired by the landmark Ingmar Bergman film Persona. It begins the album with a driving rhythmic figure inspired by an Indian polyrhythm cycle. “Persona is such an amazing, powerful film because it goes through so many ups and downs,” Oh says. “I wanted something that intense to start the record. It’s about striving to be something beyond what we are.”

Released May 22, 2012 via Greenleaf Music / eOne Distribution

For more information, please visit bassist Linda Oh at www.lindaohmusic.com

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