400

Sam Sadigursky: Sam Sadigursky: The Words Project

By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Sadigursky Sam Sadigursky
The Words Project
New Amsterdam Records
2007

Musical settings of poetry remain rare in jazz. Pianist Ketil Björnstad's accessible readings of John Donne's metaphysical poems and bassist Steve Swallow's longtime affair with Robert Creeley have replenished the genre to a degree, but few artists have braved the near-stigmatized art form, let alone on their first album as leader. With The Words Project, however, reedman Sam Sadigursky's well tailored musical atmospheres reveal a sensitive approach to musical prosody.

Drawn from the serious and not so serious pages of Penelope Shuttle, Donald Justice, Maxine Kumin, Czeslaw Milosz and Osip Mandelshtam, the more upbeat and uplifting texts here become a set of vaporous, modernist scenescapes. Marked contrasts are achieved with one of Marina Tsvetaeva's uneasy missives, a Sylvia Plath surrealist riddle and Mark Boog's rather violent and deranging "Water, Aspirin, You. Throughout, Sadigursky's flowing phraseology empathetically follows the free versed and, oftentimes, tricky meters.

For example, in Milosz's inspirational "After Paradise, he has Heather Masse's Joni Mitchell-inflected voice go down to the extreme lower range on the pentasyllabic "subterrenean and follows with a repeated, majestic melody solemnly anchored by a backbeat. The malaise of Boog's verse finds a compositional echo in the melody's psychotic intervallic leaps and disturbing, repeated high notes (that certainly do "tick onto the tympanums ), until guest guitarist Nate Radley enters with a delay-drenched, Kurt Rosenwinkel-tinged solo.

Sadigursky's emphasis of the female voice's high register on this track may turn off some listeners. By the same token, a half or whole step down transposition in the arrangement of "Still Life would have yielded less strained vocal pitches. Inversely, Noam Weinstein's low murmur on Kumin's "After Love succeeds, despite its shakiness and approximate pitch, in bringing the listener into the narrator's domestic intimacy.

Tsvetaeva's confessional poem "I'm Glad Your Sickness, is equally intimate. The track's spare arrangement puts focus on Monika Heidemann's fragile, Björk-influenced interpretation. But the program's high point is Nobel Prize laureate Milosz's "Love, a powerful call for an unegotistical transformation of humanity through love, detachment and humility. Perfectly matched with Becca Stevens' tone, the profoundly meaningful text's second exposition sees Heidemann singing the lines in a fugue and culminating with Sadigursky's Coltrane-ish modal excursion.

Also surprisingly attractive is Mendelshtam's "Gardener And Flower Too, whose word field relates to the traumatic concept of physiological entrapment (the poet establishes a metaphor between his body and what appears to be a greenhouse), and is supported by a fast, nervous ride cymbal pattern that finds release in the "chorus. Looser is Shuttle's "In The Kitchen, an ode to kitchen appliances that takes the form of a ludic tango.

The Project's more challenging moments, enlivened by its instigator's elaborate melodies, fare very well, and are given a unity despite the multifarious sweep of the original material.


Tracks: After Paradise; Still Life; I'm Glad Your Sickness; Water, Aspirin, You; Love; In The Kitchen; Gardener And Flower Too; You're; Epitaph For A Pair Of Old Shoes; After Love.

Personnel: Heather Masse, Becca Stevens, Monika Heidemann, Noam Weinstein: vocals; Pete Rende: piano; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Nate Radley: guitar; Robert Burkhart: cello; Sam Sadigursky: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and alto flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, percussion.


Track Listing: After Paradise; Still Life; I'm Glad Your Sickness; Water, Aspirin, You; Love; In The Kitchen; Gardener and Flower Too; You're; Epitaph for a Pair of Old Shoes; After Love.

Personnel: Heather Masse: vocals; Becca Stevens: vocals; Monika Heidemann: vocals; Noam Weinstein: vocals; Pete Rende: piano; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Tommy Crane: drums; Nate Radley: guitar; Robert Burkhart: cello; Sam Sadigursky: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and alto flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, percussion.

Title: Sam Sadigursky: The Words Project | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: New Amsterdam Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read Grateful Dead: Cornell '77 Extended Analysis Grateful Dead: Cornell '77
by Doug Collette
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Various Artists: Yugoslavian Space Program" Extended Analysis Various Artists: Yugoslavian Space Program
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Harvey Mandel: Snake Pit" Extended Analysis Harvey Mandel: Snake Pit
by Doug Collette
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight" Extended Analysis Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight
by John Kelman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon" Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Phish: St. Louis '93" Extended Analysis Phish: St. Louis '93
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!" Extended Analysis Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!
by John Kelman
Published: April 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.