Synastry is a collaboration between groundbreaking
vocalist Jen Shyu and master bassist Mark Dresser
that demonstrates new possibilities for jazz singing.
Shyu, a member of influential saxophonist Steve
Coleman s Five Elements, is well known for her
tonally exacting and rhythmically incisive singing.
On Synastry, accompanied only by Dresser s
acoustic bass, her voice is thrown into stark
relief, giving full evidence to her complete control
of microtonal shadings, deep sense of rhythm,
and highly developed ear for lyrical and melodic
improvisation. In addition to English and Chinese,
she sings in a wholly improvised vocalese that
utilizes phonemes derived from her mastery of
seven different languages learned through her
studies of indigenous music in Indonesia, East
Timor, Taiwan, Brazil, and Cuba. Dresser, who is
well known for using extended technique to tap the
full sonic potential of the acoustic bass, envelops
Shyu s voice in an aura of intimate mystery. Jen Shyu is a key member of Steve Coleman s
Five Elements, whose 2010 release was named
Album of the Year in the New York Times and
came in at #7 and #9 in the Village Voice and
Jazz Times Critics Polls. Mark Dresser is an acclaimed bass player and
composer best known for expanding the sonic
possibilities of the contrabass through the use of
extended technique and unusual amplification.
In a career spanning some 40 years, he has
worked with Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, Anthony
Davis, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Roswell Rudd,
Henry Threadgill, John Zorn, and many others. RIYL: Cassandra Wilson, Sheila Jordan.