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Jazz Night in America: Bassist Linda May Han Oh Is A Musician Rooted In Curiosity

Becky Harlan

"I think a part of growth in general is being comfortable in your own skin," says Linda May Han Oh, "and being comfortable with really who you are."

What that means in her case is manifold: A jazz bassist of undeniable authority, with the working affiliations to show for it; a Malaysia-born, Australia-raised resident of Harlem, N.Y.; a composer-orchestrator of burgeoning stature; an artist working to change perceptions of "women in jazz," both through positive action and just by being her bad self.

Jazz Night in America spends this episode delving into Oh's unique background and broadminded musical intentions. We'll hear music performed by her hybrid chamber-jazz ensemble Aventurine, recorded live at NPR's Studio One in Washington, D.C. — a companion to the captivating concert film we shared last fall.


Linda May Han Oh: acoustic and electric bass; Greg Ward: soprano and alto saxophones; Matt Mitchell: piano; Ches Smith: drums; Fung Chern Hwei: violin; Curtis Stewart: violin; Benni von Gutzeit: viola; Jeremy Harman: cello.

Set List:

  • "Song Yue Rao (Moon in the Pines)"
  • "Yoda"
  • "Ebony"
  • "Lucid Lullaby"
  • "The Sirens Are Wailing"
  • "Au Privave" (Charlie Parker; arr. Linda May Han Oh)

All songs written by Linda May Han Oh unless otherwise noted.

Writer and Producer: Alex Ariff; Senior Producer: Katie Simon; Host: Christian McBride; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Music Engineer: Andy Huether, assisted by James Willetts.; Tech Director: David Tallacksen; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand; Senior Director of NPR Music: Lauren Onkey.

Alex Ariff has big ears. A musician first, he straddles the worlds between performance/songwriting, media production and storytelling. Alex earned his B.A in Music from Florida State University where he fell for all facets of jazz music, history, and culture. He went onto earn his M.A. in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University-Newark. It was during this time that Alex began working at WBGO, where he currently works as a producer on Jazz Night in America. Outside of WBGO, Alex enjoys lapsang souchong, bike rides, and playing with his band The Wali Sanga.
A veteran jazz critic and award-winning author, and a regular contributor to NPR Music.