Monday, February 16, 2009

All About Jazz review by Elliot Simon

Words Project II
Sam Sadigursky |
New Amsterdam Records(2008)

By Elliott Simon

Multi-instrumentalist Sam Sadigursky has released the second of his Words Projects, wherein musicians and like-minded vocalists present poetry in a beat-cum-back to the future manner. This is not your grandfather's poems read over a bongo but is creative integration of vocals into an instrumental fabric.

Sadigursky's saxophones and clarinet as well as Pete Rende's piano/Rhodes and accordion thoroughly blend with the vocals to create a "'reading" true to the overall meter and phrasing of the poem(s). Nate Radley's guitar/banjo stylings and Richie Barshay's percussion add a bit of needed color to what otherwise is a fairly monophonic sound palette, texturally rich but sonically narrow. This, combined with the artful vocals of Wendy Gilles, Monika Heidemann and Becca Stevens, makes for a deeply engaging listen.

Poet Andrew Boyd's three contributions are choice narrations of desperate situations that are a perfect fit for these environs. A lyric sheet is included and the way to experience these pieces is to use it while listening; otherwise one might not realize that the true definition of "rock bottom' is "purchasing the collected works of Yanni." Subjects also include David Ignatow's "No Theory," a description of the evisceration of a chicken, and "Miss Teen USA," whose legendary incoherence might be the seeds of a Vice Presidential candidacy someday. While the biting sarcasm of "The War Works Hard" is presented over a cacophonous build, all is not dark, and moments like Langston Hughes' uplifting "The Dream Keeper" and Sadi Ranson Polizzotti's lover's delight "Such Fruit-The Ritual" are points of light.

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