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'Shall We Tango' With Helen Sung

Helen Sung is putting her classical and jazz selves together. She comes from Houston, where she studied classical piano, and was accepted into a select group at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, then at the New England Conservatory of Music. She graduated from the institute in 1997.

In 2007, Sung won the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition. The award included a performing slot at the 2008 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.

As Larry Appelbaum wrote in JazzTimes about one song in this set, "Sung's classical studies were obvious in her expressive touch and rubato approach on "Shall We Tango," as [Richie] Goods played triple stops and [Donald] Edwards locked into a 'Poinciana' beat." The saxophonist is Steve Wilson. Take a listen.

Helen plays "Shall We Tango" from her CD, Sungbird. And leads her own group at the American Museum of Natural History in New York — and playing in violinist Regina Carter's group — on JazzSet.

Copyright 2008 WBGO