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Pamela Knowles trained and worked as an actress before turning to the vocal art. It is this combination that is a major factor in making this album as good as it is, Pamela Knowles singing/acting out a set of thirteen poems by Pulitzer Prize poetry winner, Yusef Komunyakaa. Each song is a mini stage performance. You can close your eyes and create an authentic mental vision of Ms Knowles on the stage of a legitimate theater acting out this music. To her credit, Knowles does not succumb to the temptation of over indulging in swoops, grunts, screeches and other vocal devices too often used by singers of non-standard, non-traditional pop material. When she does get dramatic, as on Incantation, it is to emphasize the lyrics, not to show off her vocal gymnastic capability. Her diction is excellent allowing the listener to actually understand what she is saying thereby enhancing appreciation of her performance. She has excellent range, has a very pleasant voice and delivers the poetry with conviction. So the question is, "are Mr. Komunykaa poems worth listening to?." I'm certainly not going to second guess the Pulitzer Prize awards committee. The material, interesting as it is, is straight forward and related to matters of contemporary interest. The poems are reprinted in the liner notes, in English and French.
This is Knowles third album and is recommended. Visit Pamela at her web site at www.pamelaknowles.com.
Tracks:Satyrs and Dryads#; Shot Down#; Mirage*; Otherwise*; Styling for the Letdown*; The Key#; Incantation*; You Know*; Shake on Shake#; Flying High%; New Blues*; A Grown Woman's Love#; Joie de Vivre*.
Personnel: Pamela Knowles - Vocals; Matt McMahon*, Alister Spence#, Jann Rutherford% - Piano; Adam Armstrong - Bass; Simon Barker - Drums; Fabian Hevia - Percussion - Warwick Alder - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; James Greening - Tuba/Trombone/Pocket Trumpet
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.