Mike Doughty of the rock band Soul Coughing wrote the lyric "is Chicago, Is Not Chicago..." to the song of the same name, followed by "a man cuts in half, just like he snaps a pencil..." The same could be said of And She Speaks -A Collection Of Ballads
by saxophonist / clarinetist Ab Baars
. This solo recording, with each song dedicated to a different composer or musician, is devotional without an obligation to be faithful. Johnny Green's 1930 jazz standard bears little resemblance to the original "Body And Soul." Performed on clarinet, Coleman Hawkins
might not recognize it today, yet it is "Body And Soul, and is not "Body And Soul."
Baars, along with his partner Ig Henneman
, is a central figure in the Dutch jazz improvisation scene, performing in the ICP Orchestra, also in and with members of The Ex and Sonic Youth, Mats Gustafsson
, and Ken Vandermark
, besides leading his own trio and, of course, performing solo. He is sought out by poets and dancers for a very good reason. He is, is not what you believe an improvising musician to be.
These nine covers, not covers pass almost dreamlike through your ears. Duke Ellington
's "Solitude," here "Solitude Cadmium Yellow," could be mistaken for the screamed expletives in St. Patrick's Cathedral that poet Ted Joans described when referring to an Albert Ayler
solo. Baars prefers the mash-up to mimicry, although he is not without nostalgic affections. Oscar Levant's "Blame It On My Youth" is given the most gentle passage on clarinet with "Blame It On My Youth Cadmium Red, and so is his dedication to John Carter
heard on "And She Speaks Purple Amaranth." If anything, Baars displays a loving kindness here that is in short supply these days.
Saji Deep Saffron; Body And Soul Cerulean Blue; And She Speaks Purple Amaranth; Naima Blue Saphir; Solitude Cadmium Yellow; And The Moon Swam Back; Poor Wheel Persian Blue; We’ll Be Together Again Blue Amber; Blame It On My Youth Cadmium Red.
Ab Baars: tenor saxophone, clarinet, shakuhachi.