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Jazz Bassist Linda May Han Oh: Tiny Desk Concert

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Themes of reflection and resilience are on display the moment bassist Linda May Han Oh begins her opener, “Halo,” a driving tune dedicated to the world of live music producers. The track, accentuated by Greg Ward on alto saxophone and Fabian Almazan’s use of an effects pedal on the piano, calls to mind the grind and hustle of playing and presenting gigs. Performance of thoughtful and complex sounds is at the heart of jazz, and at the heart of Oh’s impact as a composer and musician. Her work with artists like Pat Metheny, Terri Lyne Carrington and Vijay Iyer, plus her projects as a composer and bandleader (including a chamber jazz ensemble and album, Aventurine) have culminated in Oh being an in-demand jazz bassist.

In this Tiny Desk, Oh presents a mix of cuts from her 2023 release, The Glass Hours, and new works. Her theme of resilience is exemplified in “The Imperative,” where drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner shine. “Rise Mountains” is a conversation between the married duo of Oh and Almazan — at times a unified conversation, in others one where each takes a side. To close her set, Oh moves from upright bass to an electric for “Hatchling,” inspired by her and Almazan’s 3-year-old son. This whimsical song, with Oh and Sara Serpa vocalizing, paints a portrait of a tiny human discovering life and exploring a new world.

— Mitra I. Arthur | April 15, 2024

“The Imperative”
“Rise Mountains”

Linda May Han Oh: acoustic bass, electric bass
Fabian Almazan: piano/effects
Sara Serpa: vocals
Mark Turner: tenor saxophone
Greg Ward: alto saxophone
Mark Whitfield Jr.: drums

Producer: Mitra I. Arthur
Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Zayrha Rodriguez
Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
Photographer: Estefania Mitre
Tiny Desk Copy Editor: Hazel Cills
Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

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