Vincent Lyn is an impressive cat. Besides being an accomplished musician, he's a top male model world-wide, a kickboxing champion several times over (none other than Jackie Chan listed him among his Top 10 Best Fights of all time), an inheritor of the unique Ling Chen kung fu fighting style promulgated by his family lineage, an action movie chop-socky actor featured in more than two dozen flicks, and video instructor in Budo. Myself a belted practitioner in the Moo Duk Kwon school of Taekwondo (don't be too impressed, I didn't go far with it…though it has come in handy), I know exactly what all that means in terms of dedicating God only knows how many hours in practice alone, so how the hell did he manage not only the martial arts gig but modeling and acting and then attaining to notable acumen in music as a pianist……AND score a Grammy nomination too??? Are there that many hours in a lifetime? The term 'overachiever' applies. In fact, we may have to redefine it.
Live in New York City comes wrapped in a way cool cover, a beautiful piece of Mucha-esque art nouveau harking slightly back to ukiyo-e—or, since Lyn's half Chinese: Ming Dynasty—days, and the captured musical performance was taken from a Carnegie Hall recital given last December. That's right: Carnegie Hall, THE Carnegie Hall. Just to make it through the doors as a musician rather than as a paying rube, well, that's an accomplishment in and of itself. However, the concert—performed, I'm guessing from the response, to a small audience—was open-air miked from a distance and thus loses a lot in three-dimensionality, presence, and texture, something noticeable right from the start.
That's too bad because Lyn works in a classicalist mode with cinematic and chamber jazz inflections, and his chops are not to be ignored nor his compositional sense. Everything falls together best, though, in jazz modus, his own "Cantowood" the high point, wherein the dexterous piano work is simultaneously loose and tight, free-spirited and disciplined, exactly what you'd look for while nightclubbing. The balladic "4 Crazies", on the other hand, displays excellent right/left hand interplay in the intro, more a matter of dual leads than melody/improv and comping, the left hand anchoring while the right brightsides. Throughout, Lyn is joined by sax, bass, and drums, though, again, the recording is such that a lot of the music and sonics are far too recessed, a goodly percentage unavailable to the ear. Thus, newcomers will not obtain a fair sense of the talents involved, and fans of his earlier two CDs may well experience chagrin at such a wanting documentation.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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