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Jacob Sacks

Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra

Jacob Sacks

”Choi and Sacks are not the typical duo,” declared AllAboutJazz-New York's Andrey Henkin after a recent live performance at Manhattan's intimate 5C Café. “Choi effortlessly mixes traditional jazz vocals with a sultrier approach or the gymnastics of the avant garde. Sacks never plays the straight man, abstracting the melodies enough to keep each turn interesting. Contrary to normal course, Choi relies on Sacks' percolations as much as Sacks follows Choi's lead.”

Critics have also noted “she's an assured, maverick musical spirit whose risk- taking pays off” (Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen) and “his playing is pruned of cliché, dedicated instead to finding the right cluster or dissonance to allow the music to resonate” (David Dupont, Cadence). ...
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...they take consistently personal, at times revisionist and occasionally radical, approaches to each track. Choi has a wonderful and at times startling voice, mixing grunts, yips and other extreme effects with more conventional and, indeed, beautiful singing. I like and even admire this CD a lot, for its adventurous spirit and fearless integrity.
--Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen

Choi and Sacks work so well together in their own charming, but somewhat weird, way that they turn this tribute to composer Joe Raposo into much more than a celebration of his music...these songs, many of which suckled the children of the ‘70s, are explored in ways previously unimagined. Choi has magnificent vocal command of a variety of styles and within this intimate context she scats, sings the blues and postures as a faux Broadway diva. She jousts with and complements Sacks as he serves as both accompanist and timekeeper, changing tempo midstream and improvising off Choi’s intriguing phrasing. Choi and Sacks clearly have fun mutating rhythms and playing with the phrasing but the songs’ serious sides are also expanded upon and revealed...[they] have dressed these children’s classics in adult clothes and the fit is near perfect.
--Elliott Simon, All About Jazz

The most striking track on the album is “Bein’ Green” which, in its original incarnation, was Kermit’s protest ballad about green pigmentation that makes frogs “blend in with so many ordinary things”. Choi’s deadpan delivery of the whimsical lyric is underpinned by a dense carpet of chromatic harmony, and the tune inhabits unexpectedly disturbing dimensions as the dislocation between voice and piano symbolises a profound sense of isolation.
--Philip Clark, The Wire

What Choi and Sacks give to his music is a challenging edge that harkens back to both the bop tradition and the exploratory nature of modern creative expressionism. Choi's pretty voice is as flexible an instrument as you might hear in contemporary jazz...easily able to scat, contort phrases, or offer witty repartee. Sacks is a different kind of piano accompanist, part Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Misha Mengelberg. This is certainly an intriguing project, not conventional as Raposo's music might be categorized, and a wondrous collection transmuting his songs in a way the composer might have not imagined, but definitely would approve.
--Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

Yoon Sun Choi and pianist Jacob Sacks give tribute to composer Joe Raposo on Imagination, a sophisticated reworking of the memorable melodies and lyrics that many of us first heard on children’s shows like The Electric Company and Sesame Street. The duo stays in only long enough for us to recognize the tune before taking it out to the extremities of their musical imaginations, leaving us with grown-up versions of the songs that inspired our childhood dreams. Not the Ernie and Bert you thought you knew.
--Suzanne Lorge, All About Jazz

  • Imagination: The Music of Joe Raposo

    Yeah-Yeah records
    2008
  • Two Miles A Day

    Curling Legs
    2007

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