Released to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, the message of Saxophonist Noah Preminger's Meditations on Freedom is as direct as the music is powerful. Conceived immediately after Election Day 2016 and recorded shortly thereafter without cuts or edits, the music is a testament to both Preminger's artistic prowess and deep commitment to political engagement.
The album's nine offerings present a series of potent statements on social justice, the struggle for equity, and a stark repudiation of Trumpism and the forces that led to its rise. Preminger combines original compositions focusing on topics of immediate concern, like "Mother Earth," "99 percent," and "Women's March" with revisionings of classic protest songs, including Bob Dylan's "Only a Pawn in Their Game," Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is," Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Com" and George Harrison's "Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth." Woven together thematically and via Preminger's raw and evocative musicianship, the combination connects the lineage of protest music with today's central social justice challenges.
Preminger thus simultaneously illustrates the progress that has been made to right social inequity, the suffering and commitment it took to achieve those advances, and what is at stake as our society confronts a political crisis that puts these achievements at grave risk. Throughout, Preminger's playing spirals, lunges forward, folds back on itself, only to plunge forward once again, viscerally depicting that the arc of social progress is not linear and is always marked by both moments of advancement and upheaval.
Equal parts lament, warning, and call to arms, Preminger's interweaving of past protest and current struggle reminds us that the process of social change requires constant vigilance, resistance, and a recognition that no one is free until everyone is free, that when confronting the forces of oppression our human rights, civil rights, environmental rights, and political rights are as intertwined as Preminger's masterfully executed musical lines. They are tied together by a common enemy as well as a unifying need to stand in solidarity, to honor the long lineage of political and artistic protest Preminger taps, and to never, ever give up.
Only a Pawn in Their Game; The Way It Is; A Change Is Gonna Come; We Have a Dream; Mother Earth; Women’s March; The 99 Percent; Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth); Broken Treaties.
Noah Preminger: saxophone; Jason Palmer: trumpet; Kim Cass: double-bass; Ian Froman: drums.
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