The Guitar Hero: Jean Oh
You might recognise the name and face of Jean Oh. This jazz guitarist was one of the artists featured at the Korea Moves performance at the London Jazz festival November last year wowing the crowd with his soulful performance. He has performed in many festivals, TV shows and will be releasing a new album soon with his new band E. Sang. I wanted to find out just what made this wonderful musician choose the guitar as his instrument of choice.
Mimi: Could you tell me about your background and why you chose to become a musician?
JH: Before I start to play music, I was huge music fan. I listened to a lot of music from K-pop to Jazz. I think I stared listening to music when I was teenager, maybe around 15 years old. From that time, music has been being my greatest happiness.
I started to play guitar in a gospel band at church and there I had the chance to play all kinds of instruments, piano, bass, drums etc. I had been playing the piano since I was very young (like 7 years old) so I didn’t have that big fear about a new instrument. In my youth, music was my everything, so that I naturally accepted that I was a natural born musician. That is amazing thing to me, there was no specific event and I just gradually accepted it.
Mimi: Why the guitar?
JH: At the time I decided to go to a music academy in Seoul and I was supposed to choose my instrument. As I had a similar capability for all kinds of instruments, it was hard to make a decision. I found string instruments more attractive than keyboard instrument so I omitted the piano. I wanted to make my own music but I didn’t want to be in the rhythm section. So I omitted bass then GUITAR!
Mimi: What has been the highlight (or special thing) that has happened in your career?
JH: It is hard to choose one thing, maybe last year, playing at London jazz festival could be one of them. It was a very happy experience for me. English people are very gentle and friendly. Also, my first album could be one as the first thing is always important to everybody. I recorded my first album with one of the greatest Saxophone players George Garzone in New York. But everything (everyday life) is so special to me now. Playing in front of thousands of people at festivals, playing at clubs or TV shows, playing in different countries, making new music, teaching my students. I thank everything to my GOD and my family and friends.
Mimi: Do you have any new music coming out soon?
JH: Maybe, next week, my new band called “E.Sang” album will be out and you will be able to find it in ITunes. It is guitar, keyboard, bass, drums quartet music. It is kind of free improvised experimental music with an electric sound.
Mimi: What goals do you have for your music career?
JH: Making good music is my goal, naturally expressing myself. Finding true and pure ways to express myself by sound, that is my goal.
To find out more about this talented musician, check out his website www.jeanoh.net
See some of wonderful performances below: