309

Cassandra Cleghorn / Erik Lawrence / Rene Hart / Allison Miller: Merge

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Cassandra Cleghorn / Erik Lawrence / Rene Hart / Allison Miller: Merge Poet Bern Porter once told me that all he asked in exchange for one of his poems was a loaf of bread. If you really liked the poem, he suggested, you might bake that bread with a few raisins inside. Porter's philosophy is certainly a far cry from today's hip-hop generation, with its cognac, scantily clad women and MTV cribs. But then again so is the jazz music we listen to. It seems like a long time ago that poetry and jazz met popular culture and decided to take the road less traveled.

When these two art forms walk together the results can be quite gratifying. Poet Cassandra Cleghorn and musician Erik Lawrence contribute music and words to this collaborative project they call Merge. Joining them are bassist Rene Hart and drummer Allison Miller.

Cleghorn's written poems are interpreted, accompanied, embellished and sharpened by the three very talented improvising musicians. Lawrence provides some impressive extended saxophone technique throughout. On "Owl the bass walks in over Miller's cymbals and bells, and the slow pace is taken up by Lawrence's saxophone. Cleghorn speaks only a few sentences, but the scene has been played out in its entirety. Lawrence's circular breathing ends with the meditative pops and clicks of his silencing keys.

In some places Cleghorn opens a piece unaccompanied, her voice bringing into mind the poems of Ishmael Reed brought to life by Kip Hanrahan in the 1980s. The band drops into a blues mode as on "No Smoke, No Wires/Dashiuh. Other places there is an odd tango, a lingering echo, some hand drumming. Especially pleasing is the patient and very woody bass of Rene Hart, playing not so much the timekeeper's role as an unfinished attic where Cleghorn goes to speak her words.

Allison Miller's drum solo opening to "Bourrée speaks with as much certainly as any words. She continues as she accompanies the poet. The minimal sounds amplify the words beyond the physical act of speaking them.

This recording is a keeper.

Visit Merge on the web.


Track Listing: Firefly; Plan/Tearwater Tea; No Smoke, No Wires/Dashiuh; Honey; Whistle Stop; Bourr

Personnel: Cassandra Cleghorn: poetry, voice; Erik Lawrence: saxophones, flutes; Rene Hart: bass; Allison Miller: drums.

Title: Merge | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Merge Poetry Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Pulsation" CD/LP/Track Review Pulsation
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Bloodroot" CD/LP/Track Review Bloodroot
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Seven Secrets" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Secrets
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Carve" CD/LP/Track Review Carve
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.