All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Paul Simon: In The Blue Light

Mike Jurkovic By

Sign in to view read count
To this very day, as he readies the last shows of his Homeward Bound tour, Paul Simon's new is as new as his old once was. When your most maligned works, 1980's One Trick Pony (Warner Brothers), 84's dark epic Heart and Bones (Warner Brothers), and 97's errant Songs From The Capeman (Warner Brothers, 1997) yields such lasting beauty as "Late in The Evening," "Hearts and Bones," "The Late, Great Johnny Ace," "The Vampires," and "Adious Hermanos," a severe re-assessment is due. Consider the deep listening of "How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns" reimagined here from its 80's incarnation as a new jazz standard featuring Wynton Marsalis, pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist John Patitucci, or the shimmering orchestral waltz, courtesy of NY's innovative yMusic sextet, that replaces the doo-wop impressionism of the Hearts and Bones (Warner Brothers, 1983) masterpiece "Rene and Georgette Magritte and Their Dog After The War."

But something as non-satisfying as re-assessment is not what Simon is after. Instead, like all curious creators from Kew Gardens do, Simon looks back to move foward, and moves yet again far afield of his peers. He's the street kid insisting "Hey! You missed these! Listen to 'em now!" and delivering with ever broader strokes. "One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor," etched into memory on 1973's There Goes Rhymin' Simon (Warner Brothers), holds its roiling blues wonder and goes deep, deep jazz with an un-repentable sweet, street swagger courtesy of pianist Joel Wenhardt, drummer Nate Smith, Patitucci, and his finger-snappin' missus, Edie Brickell.

In the Blue Light's scintillating take of "Can't Run But" from Rhythm of The Saints, (Warner Brothers, 1990), a composition only the originator would reconsider, doesn't shy from it's samba self, it just sets itself up as an exhilarating race with yMusic's dancing woodwinds and strings reaching new consciousness via a pulsing arrangement by The National's Bryce Dessner.

And yes the voice may sound its seventy six years but these songs don't. Exhibits 5 and 6 being two definitive songs from 2000's underrated You're The One. "Pigs, Sheep, Wolves," a scathingly Orwellian and reflective of our deteriorating culture then, is even more so now with the lyric "Let's get him! Let's kill him!" leaping from its brewing, Preservation Hall setting like an early morning tweet from Pennsylvania Avenue. The translucent love story that is "Darling Lorraine" finds guitarists Bill Frisell, (who illuminates several tracks, including a gently rolling "Love") Mark Stewart and yMusic, winding their way around an assembled guitar solo by the late Vincent Nguini, Simon's musical collaborator since the many triumphs of Graceland (Legacy, 1986). Simon then partners Fortner and Patitucci with the whispery grace of Jack DeJohnette and a plaintive Joe Lovano to create a quietly redemptive plea on "Some Folks Lives Roll Easy."

For roughly two-thirds of his often text-book, often touching Paul Simon: The Life, revered journalist Robert Hilburn shows us a Simon who, if not obsessed with chart position and sales, then at least is overly concerned by them. In the Blue Light, on the other hand, gives us an artist tethered to none of that, but instead his humanity and never failing muse, daring himself and his listeners not to revise, but re-envision not only the music and the place it holds in our lives, but also where we hold ourselves within the greater scheme. Bravo.

Track Listing: Disc: 1: One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor; Love; Can't Run But; How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns; Pigs, Sheep and Wolves. Disc: 2: René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War; The Teacher; Darling Lorraine; Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy; Questions for the Angels.

Personnel: Paul Simon: Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Harmonium; Bill Frisell: Electric Guitar; Steve Gadd: Drums; Renaud Garcia-Fons: Bass; Joel Wenhardt: Piano; Nate Smith: Drums; Jim Oblon: Guitar; John Patitucci: Bass; Edie Brickell: Finger Snaps; CJ Camerieri: Trumpet; Andy Snitzer: Saxophone; Sullivan Fortner: Piano; Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet; Marcus Printup: Trumpet; Dan Block: Clarinet; Walter Blanding: Saxophone; Wycliffe Gordon: Tuba; Chris Crenshaw: Trombone; Marion Felder: Drums; Herlin Riley: Tambourine; Odair Assad: Guitar; Sérgio Assad: Guitar; Walter Blanding: Saxophone; Jamey Haddad: Percussion; Vincent Nguini: Electric Guitar; Mark Stewart: Acoustic Guitar; Sullivan Fortner: Piano, Celeste; Jack DeJohnette: Drums; Joe Lovano: Saxophone.

Title: In The Blue Light | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: SMG

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Live 1969

Live 1969

Columbia Records
2008

buy
Surprise

Surprise

Warner Bros.
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Double Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Double Bass
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2018
Read "Intention" CD/LP/Track Review Intention
by John Sharpe
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Light Of Love" CD/LP/Track Review Light Of Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Close Up" CD/LP/Track Review Close Up
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Along Similar Lines" CD/LP/Track Review Along Similar Lines
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "American Reverie" CD/LP/Track Review American Reverie
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2018