|Photo: The Fresno Bee|
For their collaboration, Boone composed music to fit Levine's words and his voice. He surrounds that voice on most tracks with the fine rhythm section of David Aus or Craig Von Berg (piano), Spee Kosloff or Nye Morton (acoustic bass), and Brian Hamada or Gary Newmark (drums) plus a slew of guests. Many listeners will be attracted by the appearance of tenor saxophonist Chris Potter on "The Unknowable (Homage to Sonny Rollins)", trumpeter Tom Harrell on "I Remember Clifford (Homage to Clifford Brown)", alto saxophonist Greg Osby on "Call It Music (Homage to Charlie Parker)", and tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis on "Soloing (Homage to John Coltrane)" - those songs are fascinating with great playing from all involved supporting poems that speak to the joy of the musicians they pay tribute to.
|Nat'l Endowment for the Arts|
If you have never encountered the poetry and essays of Philip Levine, please check him out. Benjamin Boone is a new name to me. A native of North Carolina, he studied at the University of Tennessee and did graduate work at Boston University and University of South Carolina. He has performed in many countries around the world and did work as a Fulbright Scholar in both the former Soviet Republic of Moldova and in Ghana. This album was recorded at four different sessions over the course of two years (2012-2014), then took a while to find a home and was finally released in late March of this year. Find the album, dig into the program, go back to the music and to the poetry, and celebrate this brilliant collaboration.
For more information, go to www.benjaminboone.net. To learn more about Philip Levine, go to www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/philip-levine.
Here's a listen:
"New York Stories" is an aural treat, a celebration of music that puts the spotlight on the voice and words of Judy Niemack and the delightful arrangements of Jim McNeely. Kudos to the Danish Radio Big Band (musicians listed below) whose involvement helps to make this journey such an excellent one!
For more information, go to www.judyniemack.com.
Here's the closing track:
Jim McNeely - arranger, conductor
Judy Niemack - vocals
Anders Gustafsson - 1st trumpet
Christer Gustafsson - 2nd trumpet
Thomas Kjaergaard - 3rd trumpet
Mads La Cour - 4th trumpet
Lars Vissing - 5th trumpet
Vincent Nilsson - 1st trombone
Steen Nikolaj Hansen - 2nd trombone
Peter Jensen - 3rd trombone
Annette Saxe - 4th trombone
Jakob Munck Mortensen - 5th trombone
Nicolai Schultz - 1st alto sax
Peter Fuglsand - 2nd alto sax
Hans Ulrik - 1st tenor sax
Frederick Menzies - 2nd tenor sax
Anders Gaardmand - baritone sax
Per Gade - guitar
Nikolaj Bentzon - piano
Kaspar Vadsholt - bass
Søren Frost - drums