Korean jazz band "Infinite Loop" just released their 2nd album "Free Play." This new album is full of improvisations with avant-garde and modal jazz sounds.
Their first album Across the Ocean(2010)showed various styles of funk, rock, and organ rhythm-infused jazz sounds. With their sophomore release Free Play, they have gone back to the basics: original standard jazz guitar/piano quartet. Most of the compositions are guitar fronted jazz, avant-garde and freestyle jazz — think Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and John Coltrane’s modal jazz.
Kimie Kim named the tracks of this new album simply as “Free Play No.1” to “Free Play No.7,” like the titles of classical music that are divided into parts. This is because all of the tracks essentially have the same message and concept of freestyle improvisation, and all of the music was composed in a short period of time. He says, “Basically, it’s just free play.”
The 8th track “Home” is the work of Dongsun Tschae (1901~1953), one of the prominent composers of modern Korean history. The band added the song because of its good representation of Korean modern history. As a result of the Korean War, the country was divided into two separate countries: North and South. They believe people need to know about the history and learn from the past.
The song was originally named “Home,” which was banned by the South Korean government for 30 years after the original lyricist headed for the north during the Korean War. Tschae’s family have since adapted new lyrics and changed the name of the original song, released as “Nostalgia,” and subsequently changed to “I miss you.”
Members of Infinite Loop
Kimie Kim – Guitar
Kimie Kim was born in 1975 in Jeju, Korea. He moved to Los Angeles to attend Musicians Institute at age 19. Being exposed to jazz festivals in the United States and Canada, he left for Austria to attend The Vienna Conservatory, where he studied with Christian Havel. He worked as Editor-in-Chief of GuitarLab Magazine upon his return to Korea. He is currently a member of The Seoul Jazz Big Band and Band Lake Crow.
Tagg – Drums
Tagg started playing the guitar at age 14 after listening to the music of Smokie. In high school, he switched to the drums and played in heavy metal bands. He was a member of the metal bands, Necrophagous and Bolt. He also recorded funky styles with the band, Soreguitan. Having previously been the drummer for Kimie’s solo album, the two have teamed up again for Infinite Loop.
Nokyung Lee – Piano
Nokyung Lee started classical piano at an early age. She graduated college with a degree in psychology, but decided to be a jazz pianist after traveling to New Orleans. She moved to the U.S. to study jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston and Queens College in New York. She has released five albums under her name since returning to Korea.
Lee, Byoung Hun – Bass
Byoung Hun Lee is one of the busiest bass players in the Korean jazz scene. He plays a wide variety of music, ranging from the rock band Mugal, to jazz bands Infinite Loop and Seoul Jazz Big Band. He has studied at Berklee College of Music and New York University, and currently teaches jazz bass at Baeksuk College of Art in Seoul.