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; Bourre; Owl; The Map; Matter of Time; Project Grizzly; Lines to Blow Over; The Leave-taking; The Kit: Box; Gut; Bow; Gum; Camino Cielo; Winds Blow Through Me.

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

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Merge Poetry Music | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Shades of Rio" CD/LP/Track Review Shades of Rio
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 23, 2016
Read "Sinking Houseboat Confusion" CD/LP/Track Review Sinking Houseboat Confusion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Suite Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Ellington
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 26, 2016
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!