Linda Oh Pursues New Direction on Forthcoming Album

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Linda May Han Oh will release Walk Against Wind on Biophilia Records on April 14. (Photo: Courtesy of Biophilia Records)

Bassist-composer Linda May Han Oh will release Walk Against Wind, her fourth album as a leader and first for Biophilia Records, on April 14. The album is the companion project to her acclaimed 2013 Greenleaf Music release, Sun Pictures, and will feature the same band—saxophonist Ben Wendel, guitarist Matthew Stevens and drummer Justin Brown—with the addition of keyboardist Fabian Almazan and Korean traditional musician Minji Park.

Born in Malaysia to Chinese parents and raised in Western Australia (where she added “Linda” to her given name), Oh arrived in New York in 2004 as part of the International Association for Jazz Education “Sisters in Jazz” program, quickly developing a reputation as a stalwart accompanist and imaginative composer.

In 2012, she released Initial Here (Greenleaf), her debut album, and in the same year topped the Rising Star—Bass category of DownBeat’s Critics Poll. In late 2015, she joined guitarist Pat Metheny’s newest quartet, which also includes drummer Antonio Sanchez and pianist Gwilym Simcock. She remains a member of the Dave Douglas Quintet as well as the Sound Prints Band with Douglas and Joe Lovano.

For her new album, Oh stated a desire to explore both the challenges and the rewards of an artist’s journey. Listeners familiar with Oh’s previous work will notice an increased presence of electric bass on the new album, as well as the addition of wordless vocals.

Walk Against Wind is about the paths that we choose,” she said. “Sometimes they end up being the harder paths, but in the long run they prove more fruitful ... it’s [often] about thinking big picture about what you can give back to the community with your music. It’s definitely appropriate for these times given the uncertainty of what’s to come and the feelings of division, lack of unity and a climate of intolerance that’s arisen in the last few years.”

In joining Biophilia Records, Oh unites with a roster of artists who share a common interest in having a positive impact on the environment. Musicians signed to the label collaborate with organizations that specialize in conservation, sustainability and outreach initiatives. Additionally, Biophilia Records has created a new way to buy and consume music without the use of plastics. The label’s Biopholio is a new form of paper-art in lieu of the traditional CD jewel case or the CD itself, eliminating the potential for CDs and other plastic packaging to end up in landfills.

Biophilia Records was founded by Almazan in 2011 and is based in New York City. Additional artists on the label include singer-composer Lara Bello, bassist Desmond White and singer-songwriter Charlie Christenson. For a list of forthcoming album releases, including Almazan’s latest CD, Alcanza, visit the label’s website. DB