Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Benjamin Boone: The Poetry of Jazz

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Benjamin Boone's The Poetry Of Jazz could easily have been titled The Jazz of Poetry because of the almost interchangeable nature of the terms. The composer/saxophonist's vision to put music to the U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine's prose is a reminder to listeners that jazz was birthed by the common man, and is not to be kept in an ivory tower.

Both professors at Cal State Fresno, Levine and Boone had performed together before, and the saxophonist had used the poet's writing in some orchestral work. For this recording, made in multiple sessions over three years, Levine actually entered the studio to read his poems with a revolving cast of musicians, including guest artists Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Chris Potter, and Greg Osby.

Levine's poetry, which won two National Book Awards and a Pulitzer Prize, has always centered on the working man, much like Kenneth Patchen's poetry or Bruce Springsteen's songs. For Patchen it was steel mills, for Levine automobile plants. The rhythms of assembly lines and the factory clock serve as a backdrop in poems like "What Work Is" and "A Dozen Dawn Songs, Plus One" causing the human spirit (like jazz) to rise above the grit and grease.

But like good jazz, poetry is also a history lesson. Here, Levine retells the Williamsburg Bridge legend of Sonny Rollins with Chris Potter's tenor saxophone accompaniment, and also of Charlie Parker's breakdown while recording "Lover Man," as told to the poet by trumpeter Howard McGhee. That history is also ingrained in our lives, with "I Remember Clifford," Tom Harrell plays the role of Clifford Brown as Levine recalls when he first heard "the high clear trumpet of Clifford Brown calling us all to the dance," and of the loss jazz endured at the trumpeter's sudden death at 25. Branford Marsalis plays the role of John Coltrane as Levine and his elderly mother both find solace in a Trane solo.

These guest artists might be the attraction for the jazz listener, and Levine for the poetry fan, but that would miss the extraordinary music both written and performed by Boone and several excellent sidemen, including pianist David Aus and bassist Spee Kosloff.

Track Listing: Gin, Making Light of It, The Unknowable (Homage to Sonny Rollins), Yakov, They Feed They Lion, I Remember Clifford (Homage to Clifford Brown), The Music of Time, Soloing (Homage to John Coltrane), Arrival; A Dozen Dawn Songs, Plus One; Our Valley, Call It Music (Homage to Charlie Parker), By the Waters of the Llobregat, What Work Is.

Personnel: Philip Levine: poetry, narration; Benjamin Boone: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Tom Harrell: trumpet (6); Branford Marsalis: tenor saxophone (8); Greg Osby: alto saxophone (12); Chris Potter: tenor saxophone (3); Stefan Poetzsch: violin (10, 11); Karen Marguth: vocals (1,7); Max Hembd: trumpet (4, 5, 10); David Aus: piano (2-6, 10-14); Craig von Berg: piano (1, 7, 8, 10); Spee Kosloff: bass (1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12); Nye Morton: bass (4, 5, 11, 14); John Lauffenburger: bass (6,8); Brian Hamada: drums (1-3, 6-8, 10, 12); Gary Newmark: drums (4, 5, 11, 14); Atticus Boone: French horn (6); Asher Boone: trumpet (6).

Title: The Poetry of Jazz | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Drum Solos For Dancers Only CD/LP/Track Review
Drum Solos For Dancers Only
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya Kimura CD/LP/Track Review
Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya Kimura
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 18, 2018
Read His Flight's At Ten CD/LP/Track Review
His Flight's At Ten
by John Sharpe
Published: December 18, 2018
Read First Lines CD/LP/Track Review
First Lines
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 18, 2018
Read Live At Cafe Amores CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: December 18, 2018
Read The Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Tale
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 17, 2018
Read "Return to the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Peter and the Wolf" CD/LP/Track Review Peter and the Wolf
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "Chants To The Sea - The Corium project" CD/LP/Track Review Chants To The Sea - The Corium project
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 30, 2018
Read "Birthday" CD/LP/Track Review Birthday
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "Two Hands To Tango" CD/LP/Track Review Two Hands To Tango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica" CD/LP/Track Review Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2018