Benjamin Boone

The Poets Are Gathering

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Georges Tonla Briquet, Jazz'halo (Belgium)

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Jazz as a vector for a reflection of injustice and impotence in our current society, it still exists. Saxophonist, composer and arranger Benjamin Boone proves it in the company of a series of poets and guest musicians including Kenny Werner, Ari Hoenig, Donald Brown and Ben Monder. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of current topics.

Benjamin Boone is not new to works in which jazz and poetry complement each other. For 'The Poetry Of Jazz' he even hired Chris Potter, Tom Harrell, Greg Osby and Branford Marsalis. With the current morbid current affairs in the USA 'The Poets Are Gathering' is his most urgent pamphlet. Migrants, police brutality, racism, and gun ownership are just some of the topics that drive despair and inhumane situations and are articulated by today's griots. All poets and word artists recite or rap their own texts. With eleven in total they are: Tyehimba Jess, Patricia Smith, Edward Hirsch, Juan Felipe Herrera, TR Hummer, Kimiko Hahn, Patrick Sylvain, Lee Herrick, Dustin Prestridge, Marisol Baca, Donald Brown II .

They are surrounded and accompanied by twenty musicians who provide the setting in various combinations. This varies from an almost withdrawn underline and framing to ghosts trip hop, funky jazz soul, "free style", cosmic Sun Ra outbursts and pure aggression à la Albert Ayler. The highlight is the almost twelve minutes long title track, a huge uppercut.

'The Poets Are Gathering' weighs heavily after listening. A CD as a listening game divided into sixteen chapters. An idea for short films by Spike Lee? With extensive "liner notes" and references to where you can find the texts. For fans of Linton Kwesi Johnson as well as James Baldwin, NWA and Run DMC.

An absolute must, bearing in mind the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess: "I am a poet murdering silence" ('Against Silence').








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