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Live review: Kyungso Park & Andy Sheppard @ Royal Albert Hall 11/10/16


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The fifth event in this year's K-Music festival took a grandiose turn with saxophonist Andy Sheppard and Korean soloist Kyungso Park colliding East and West for a late night jazz show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Kyungso ParkThe accomplished musicians seamlessly combined both jazz and folklore traditions from two sides of the globe.

The duo accommodated a small, cozy audience tucked into the Edgar room of the both classy and classic venue.

Bristol resident Sheppard brought his relaxed, melodic, sophisticated jazz playing to Kyungso's uplifting smooth natural flow of the gayageum (a traditional Korean instrument which reminds a cross between a harp an oud and a theremin).

Both artists are renowned for their ability to switch styles with ease and this was on ample display on the night, with them expanding on the traditional at every juncture.

Having only met two days prior to the concert the connection on display was incredibly impressive.

The duo lulled the spectators for a brief, soothing, mellow performance as they infused a spring-like peace into the very mature, very quiet fans. With tip-toeing delicacy Sheppard and Park swayed left to right, buzzing with a serene murmur and slow energy that grabbed all listeners by the shoulders and reassured them; a simple, down to earth show with no lights, no games, a little bit of conversation to kill the silence whilst tuning the instruments, and nothing else.

Like being bundled in a cocoon of warm fuzzy blankets, the combination of Korean natural sounds, pings and plucks, combined with the steady, amalgamous, styled-out strumps of the sax, wrapped around the chairs and tables and glasses of wine.

Tastefully harmonic, almost shy at times, both artists demonstrated humbling senstivity, candor and versatility, as once again with this festival, we are increasingly impressed by how varied and how rich the collaboration between musical backgrounds can be.

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