Sam Sadigursky: Words Project II (2008)
Multi-instrumentalist Sam Sadigursky has released the second of his Words Projects, wherein musicians and like-minded vocalists present poetry in a beat-cum-back to the future manner. This is not your grandfather's poems read over a bongo but is creative integration of vocals into an instrumental fabric.
Sadigursky's saxophones and clarinet as well as Pete Rende's piano/Rhodes and accordion thoroughly blend with the vocals to create a "'reading" true to the overall meter and phrasing of the poem(s). Nate Radley's guitar/banjo stylings and Richie Barshay's percussion add a bit of needed color to what otherwise is a fairly monophonic sound palette, texturally rich but sonically narrow. This, combined with the artful vocals of Wendy Gilles, Monika Heidemann and Becca Stevens, makes for a deeply engaging listen.
Poet Andrew Boyd's three contributions are choice narrations of desperate situations that are a perfect fit for these environs. A lyric sheet is included and the way to experience these pieces is to use it while listening; otherwise one might not realize that the true definition of "rock bottom' is "purchasing the collected works of Yanni." Subjects also include David Ignatow's "No Theory," a description of the evisceration of a chicken, and "Miss Teen USA," whose legendary incoherence might be the seeds of a Vice Presidential candidacy someday. While the biting sarcasm of "The War Works Hard" is presented over a cacophonous build, all is not dark, and moments like Langston Hughes' uplifting "The Dream Keeper" and Sadi Ranson Polizzotti's lover's delight "Such Fruit-The Ritual" are points of light.
Track Listing: Paths; Such Fruit; No Theory; The Dream Keeper; Miss Teen USA; It Takes A Nail; Indecision; The Sea And The Man; The War Works Hard; Therapy.
Personnel: Wendy Gilles: vocals (5, 7, 8); Monika Heidemann: vocals (1, 4, 9, 10); Becca Stevens: vocals, percussion (2, 3, 6); Nate Radley: guitar, banjo; Pete Rende: piano, Fender Rhodes, accordion, pump organ, tape loop; Eivind Opsvik: bass, percussion, theremin; Bill Campbell: dums, cymbals, percussion; Richie Barshay: percussion (5, 6, 8); Daniel Blake: soprano sax (9); Jeremy Udden: soprano sax (9); Dunya Mikhail: voice (9); Sam Sadigursky: saxophones, clarinet, piccolo, percussion, piano, whistle, voice, keyboard.