89

The Po/Jazz Connection: Live From Brave New World

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Poetry and jazz make a natural combination, as the history of experimental music has borne out over and over again. In this case, the Po/Jazz Connection features music by the Arpeggio Jazz and Music Ensemble, led by bassist/MC Warren Oree. Plus nearly a dozen different speakers, each of whom offers a different angle—all personal. The connection, at Philadelphia's Brave New World in mid-'99, makes for interesting listening. Most of the fascination lies in the sheer unpredictability of the poetry, which shares a common focus on time but little else. As for the band, it's a standard jam-oriented group. The music on this particular Connection operates in a narrow harmonic range with few changes: it's the kind of thing that works exceptionally well as a shifting backdrop for the speakers up front. The Arpeggio group comes across as quite natural and organic, but essentially the music functions on autopilot.

Zenzele, a sparky feminist, wastes very little time on the first poetry session getting right to the point: "I be Queen Mother of this civilization!" As she elaborates, her words convey a coherent sense of urgency and perspective. Other poets follow. Khaliq tells us: "I need you next to me / ecstasy baby / Invest in me!" (and so on and so forth). Uva ascribes the pain and death of the ghetto to men, specifically those who pursue the "thug life." April Thorpe goes melodic with her vocals, draping an unabashed positivity over her performance: "Think of running naked through a field of daisies..." (Think of flower children.) Lameen Mahdee laments the shallowness of the times with reggae-tinged vocals that describe a modern day Babylon: "family values have been lost and forgotten." Lady Danco proclaims she's "dizzy delicious in your ear," translating the connection between music and words into one between sound and sensuality. Finally, L.I.F.E. goes neo-tribal in the moving closer: "The drum is a channel of energy, knowledge, and power."

Perhaps the most fascinating question that comes out of this recording is how poetry mixed with jazz somehow distinguishes itselves from rap harnessed to beat boxes. Comparing articulate jazz versus static 4/4 repetition, it's pretty easy to see a difference: high art versus pop culture. But somewhere in the middle, where the pieces blur, there's a connection and the two become one. And that's a beautiful place.

Track Listing: Welcome/Kukuru Jona; Walk On By; Daughter Of Destiny; 201 S. Matlack; Wanting To Be In Your Video; Got-Zilla Off My Back; Chocolatye; The Collective; Turn Away; Sisters; Who's That; Wet Walnuts and Whipped Cream; A Drink On Me; Adulterated Drum.

Personnel: The Arpeggio Jazz and Music Ensemble: Warren Oree, bass/vocals; Umar Raheem, tenor/soprano saxophones; Greg "Ju-Ju" Jones, drums; Doug "Pablow" Edwards, congas/percussion; Jeff Knoettner: keyboards; Mike Davis, guitar. Poets: Zenzele, Khaliq, Uva, Nicole McGregor, April Thorpe, Lamont Dixon aka Napalm, Lameen Mahdee, Lori Tsang, Zaki featuring Mecca, Lady Danco, L.I.F.E.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Silk Skin Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960 CD/LP/Track Review Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Chapter Five CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read The Hive CD/LP/Track Review The Hive
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Live In Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review Horizonte
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Roaring" CD/LP/Track Review Roaring
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!