MOI’M Jazz Showcase

Article by Kevin Young
Photo by Jaiyoon Lee

MOI’M held a night of jazz filled with New Orleans inspired music showcasing New York’s talented Korean-American jazz community. Held at the small intimate music venue Toshi’s Living Room and Penthouseon up-and-coming Korean jazz musicians demonstrated the talent New York has to offer. MOI’M wants to help raise awareness of these artist and to introduce a new generation of youth into the jazz culture.

Jazz Night is a collaboration between MOI’M and locals who studied from Berklee College of Music, NYU, Queens College, and the New School. Three very different and diverse bands performed their own set of songs catering to specific themes: Contemporary, Groove, and Back to the Past.

“Koreans love music. It’s a big part of our culture. Although we have K-pop and a ton of interest in classical, dance and hip hop music, not many of us have been exposed to jazz. Our goal in this event is to let our guests hear for themselves what great art form jazz is and to bring spotlight to some of the amazing musicians within our community,” said Ryan Jeong, Associate Director of Event Development for MOI’M.

The smooth classy atmosphere made Toshi’s the perfect stage for the three bands to perform. Party goers were able to enjoy food off of the menu and alcohol of their choosing. In addition to the music free prizes were given out ranging from karaoke coupons to liquor coupons.

The first band performing the contemporary theme had Sooyoung Chin playing the piano, Chae Heung Lim playing the bass, and Paul Rhee on the drums. Together this trio combined their musical talents to produce a gravitating sound unknown to many. Ears were opened and focused on the soothing jazzy instrumentals. It was a mellow, soothing, light-hearted, and easygoing sound that kept the crowd allured. This music was the perfect complement to having a glass of wine.

Following this act, vocalist Ruby Choi, bassist Jude Kim, keyboard player Mina Yu, and drummer Ben Charnley delivered a fun soulful collection of songs adhering to the “groove” theme. Ruby Choi is a star in the making belting out notes and having a sound resembling the late mainstream jazz songstress, Amy Winehouse. Her band performed an original song called clover about finding your luck, followed by an original song called Get Away From Me. To conclude their portion of the show, Choi performed an intense and emotional song channeling Sam Smith covering La La La. This was a spectacular and unforgettable performance that demonstrated why Ruby Choi will become a future star.

To conclude Jazz Night, it was fitting to have back to the past as the final theme. These songs paid tribute to the original jazz icons of the music world. Louie Armstrong inspired instrumentals kept the crowd enticed throughout the performances of Jinwoo Lee playing the saxophone, Youngjae Kim playing the piano, Myungwon Kim playing the guitar, Daniel W. Song playing the bass, and Sungtaek Oh playing the drums. Overall the crowd enjoyed a night of networking with other professionals while becoming fans of the newly found jazz scene. Perhaps it was the soothing instrumentals or the flawless vocals that will prompt the guest to attend future MO’IM events.

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