Monday, May 05, 2008

Poetry and Jazz: two great tastes that taste great together

Saturday night, we attended a benefit concert for JazzBoston: A Kaleidoscopic View of Jazz in Boston. My husband is a jazz aficionado and saxophone and clarinet player, so getting him to see live music is as easy as falling off a log. But the real reason I wanted to attend this concert was to see a performance by Robert Pinsky with drummer Rakalam Bob Moses and saxophonist Andrew Urbina.

I have blogged before here, and here, about the power of spoken word and music, from my experiences at the Dodge Poetry Festival. It is a deep and mysterious connection, where each enhances the other, makes the words more musical, the music speak with words.

The collaboration saturday night was a conversation in 2 idioms. Pinsky shared several pieces with us, starting with "Samurai Song." Here is a link to a video of Pinsky reciting it. I can't help but feel the words lonely and cold without the jazz threaded through them. Moses' drum and Urbina's sax also spoke of the samurai's solitude.

Next, Pinsky traded couplets with Moses, words and drum speaking one to another, sometimes with humor, sometimes in empathy.

For their final piece, Pinsky performed "Ginza Samba" while Moses and Urbina played the jazz piece of the same title. It was a phenomenal performance, the words and music not competing for meaning, but enhancing one another's essence.

It was a wonderful evening of a broad range of jazz, including performances from the Berklee City Music All-Stars Quintet, the Marianne Solivan Quartet (and where else are you going to get modern jazz paired with words from Lao Tzu?), The Coltrane Educational Outreach Program Quintet, and George Garzone and Friends.

If you live in the Boston area, check out JazzBoston's website.

1 comment:

  1. Has anyone checked out Poet/Bassist-Larry Roland???