Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

17

Noah Preminger: Meditations on Freedom

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Open and civil discourse has always been a tenant of democracy. Recent political events in the U.S. have reduced that discourse to a crude, gutter-level low that has left an alienated population in its wake, marginalized and left without a strong voice. From the time of the Civil War, protest music has provided counsel for vulnerable segments of society. With Meditations on Freedom saxophonist Noah Preminger adds his voice to the ranks of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" (Commodore, 1939), Charles Mingus' "Fables of Faubus" from Mingus Ah Um (Columbia, 1959), Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam" from Nina Simone in Concert (Philips, 1964) and Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra Not in Our Name (Verve, 2005).

Preminger's quartet of trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass and Ian Froman on drums has been together on two recent releases, Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar (Self-Produced, 2016) and Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (Self-Produced, 2016). Paying homage to the Mississippi Delta Blues has been an extended objective of Preminger's and he applies some of the same techniques to the music of protest on Meditations on Freedom in that he is neither nostalgic nor dismissive of the source of inspiration.

The album opens with Bob Dylan's early civil rights classic "Only a Pawn in Their Game" from The Times They Are A-Changin' (Columbia, 1964) and takes a reverential approach to the original for much of its playing time before allowing for some heartfelt improvisation. "The Way It Is," Bruce Hornsby's more modern statement on prejudice and apathy takes an edgier slant compared to the ironically melodic original. Another anthem of the civil rights movement—Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come"—has the delta blues feel and radiates emotion. The last of the cover songs is George Harrison's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" which the ex-Beatle wrote as part of his ongoing humanitarian aid project to bring awareness to the plight of Bangladesh refugees.

In the spirit of the cover pieces, Preminger's original compositions broadcast the same sense of urgency. "We Have a Dream" swings in conveying a sense of hope while the environmentally focused "Mother Earth" has an urgency appropriate to the ravages of climate change. The time changes of "Women's March" reflect a renewed realization that we can too easily move one step forward and two back. "The 99 Percent" and "Broken Treaties" are studies in frustration and disengagement, both with elements of anger and melancholy but neither without hope.

At thirty years of age Preminger is quite prolific, with eight leader releases and an additional six as a sideman. He has shown a veracity in his dedication to a focused creative process and a confident world view in the scope of material he covers. With Meditations on Freedom, Preminger gives weight to the significance of our concerns and a wake-up call to those who disregard past history. This is his best music and his most important album to date.

Track Listing: 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.

Personnel: Noah Preminger: saxophone; Jason Palmer: trumpet; Kim Cass: double-bass; Ian Froman: drums.

Title: Meditations on Freedom | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "The Cheap Ensemble" CD/LP/Track Review The Cheap Ensemble
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 10, 2017
Read "Tangents" CD/LP/Track Review Tangents
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Ask Seek Knock" CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Star Gazing" CD/LP/Track Review Star Gazing
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 27, 2017