Benjamin Boone

Caught in the Rhythm



iTunes - $9.99

MUSIC REVIEW BY Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon


Benjamin Boone continues his lauded project of uniting poetry with jazz. After the two volumes of The Poetry of Jazz, featuring the poems and narration of Laureate Philip Levine, followed by A Gathering of Poets, 11 narrating their own often dark and angry social commentary, he presents his most interesting, expansive, and musical combinations that Boone himself regards as his best. Again, no text of the poems are provided, forcing the listener to pay more attention to the words and thereby become more open to their mind-tapping effect. This time six poets are presented, five represented on the previous album. The collection is more youthful, and 4 of the 13 selections are works of poet, singer, and performance artist Faylita Hicks, who shapeshifts from streetwise preacher protestor to soul singer at a rap slam, to a released petty criminal mired in spiritual and economic desolation singing the blues, to a twisted, noir, O. Henry-like storyteller mentioning George Floyd and reflecting how a $20 bill figures in life. Some of the 19 guest musicians are chosen for their youth to provide a contemporary hip-hop perspective to match Hicks' exuberant, zingy poetry. Special guest Greg Osby with his alto saxophone is featured for Edward Hirsch's poetic portrait Art Pepper, and the trumpet of Ambrose Akinmusire arrives for Patrick Sylvain's Caught in The Rhythm, whose drumming and rapid bass swirl in the dance. Rodridgo Dalla slaps the congas mentioned in the poem. While Boone plays his soprano and alto saxophones, pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Corcoran Holt, and drummer Ari Hoenig support the poems of T. R. Hummer, Kimiko Hahn and Tyehimba Jess. Hummer's introductory painful reflection of 1955 is the link to the previous grouping. The electric guitar work of Ben Mounder and Eyal Maoz and John Bishop's drums color the memory. Hahn first presents Emily Dickinson's dreamy poem #836 before regarding the actual lives of her immigrant and homeless undergraduates and how different poetry enter their lives. Skeletal surrealistic staccato music is matched with Hirsch's brief The Case Against Poetry. A tone break comes with Hummer's humorous Anger Management about his dog chomping on a book of Nietzsche. Hahn and musicians also enter comedy with Olivia Suggests All the Women in Class Imagine Male Sexuality. Tyehimba Jess's only work, Mercy, paints the maiming horror of war as a beast, nurtured by money, and distorted by the press. Hummer's You'll Be Sorry closes the album in a plethora of dark symbolic imagery. Listening to this remarkable album I was taken back to my youth during the Beat / Beatnik era at the eve of 1960, where poetry accompanied with instrumental punctuation and ornament, as with bongo, became parody cliché in contrast to the classical high art of poetic lieder and symphonic development to such poets as Whitman, Dickinson, and Rumi. These now four albums with Boone's jazz compositions and poetry read by the respective poets have changed the landscape.





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