Linda May Han Oh is one of the most influential and prolific young bassists in jazz. CapitalBop is proud to present her quartet at our upcoming Traveling Loft concert, on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Fridge.
Over the past few years, and especially with the release this spring of her third album, Walk Against Wind, Oh has come to be seen as a pace-setting instrumentalist and a widely respected composer on the modern jazz scene. Her instrumental voice is subtle and nuanced, but its power is undeniable. One need look no further than Oh’s musical cohort for proof of her muster: She is a regular member of bands led by Pat Metheny and Dave Douglas, and she’s played alongside Joe Lovano, Steve Wilson, Vijay Iyer, Kenny Barron, Geri Allen, Fabian Almazan and Terri Lyne Carrington, among others. Similarly, her career as a leader has attracted a veritable who’s-who of impressive young side musicians, including Ambrose Akinmuserie, Obed Calvaire, Dayna Stephens and Matt Stevens.
On Dec. 2, Oh will appear at the Fridge with three of the absolute greatest talents in modern jazz: saxophonist Ben Wendel, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Joe Dyson. The venue is a cozy art gallery, tucked in a back alley along Barrack’s Row, at 516 8th Street SE, where some of CapitalBop’s most exciting concerts have taken place (most recently, we presented Brandee Younger to a packed houseat the DC Jazz Festival in June). Tickets are just $15 in advance, or $20 at the door.
Earlier in the evening, at 5 p.m., Oh will offer a free master class at the Fridge. The master class will focus on bass technique, and it is open to all ages. (For a preview of the wisdom she’ll be dropping, check out this interview with Bass Player magazine.) All attendees of the master class will receive a free ticket to the concert.
Oh’s concert will be the fall installment of CapitalBop’s quarterly Traveling Loft series; also on the bill is one of D.C.’s great vocal talents, Akua Allrich, who herself has been making a splash in New York City — where she recently had her debut as a leader at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, part of Jazz at Lincoln Center — and around the country. Allrich will play in an intimate duo with bassist Herman Burney.
It’s clear that Oh has a power not just over her own sound, but over others’ as well. “There’s a lot of power in what the bass chooses to play and the change of a note can change the direction of the harmony entirely,” she said in a recent interview with CapitalBop. “The bass does have a lot of strength, and I do think about that when I’m writing and playing. I feel like a bassist has a lot of responsibility.” Her compositions on Walk Against Wind reflect this sensibility: Melodies chatter, mutter, exclaim and brood, spurred on by Oh’s undulating lines on both acoustic and electric bass. Conversation is important to Oh’s artistic vision, and it is evident that her bandmates have their ears wide open during the effusive exchange of musical ideas across the album.
The depth of Oh’s playing demonstrates her hunger for collaboration and innovation, but it also speaks to her worldliness and experience. Born in Malaysia and raised in Perth, Australia, she had already accumulated a slew of accolades by the time she graduated from Manhattan School of Music with a master’s degree in 2008. She studied there under many of the most respected artists in New York, including Dave Liebman and Rodney Jones. Her omnivorous tastes and extensive training combined to produce a sound unique to her compositions — at once informed by the jazz tradition and free from its constraints.
We hope you’ll join us on Dec. 2 to hear Oh’s super-heavy ensemble, along with a set from two equally heavy musicians from D.C.
5:00 Free master class
8:00 Doors open for concert
8:30 Akua Allrich & Herman Burney
9:45 Linda May Han Oh Quartet
CapitalBop’s Traveling Loft series is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit arts.gov.