Robert Creeley [May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005] was one of America’s greatest living poets; he was the link between the Beat poets of Greenwich Village and those of Black Mountain College. Creeley has long acknowledged the influence of jazz and improvised music on his work.
In this collaboration of music and poetry, recorded live 9/98, Creeley reads his texts while the extremely talented band of David Torn [guitar, processing], Steve Swallow [electric bass], David CasT [saxes, bass clarinet] and Chris Massey [drums, percussion] provide a lively mesh of music that supports and augments the reading. This disc provides a permanent record of the quintet’s emotionally moving performance, a work of art in which poetry, music and process becomes.
Chris Massey – drums
Steve Swallow – bass
David CasT – tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
David Torn – guitar, liveloops, oud, microcassettes
„Have We Told You All You’d Thought to Know? is Cuneiform’s second foray into spoken word. ….this project around the poetry of Robert Creeley puts the words centerstage and accompanies them with soft free improvisations with a jazz inflection. Creeley needs no introduction; he has a strong reputation and his relation to jazz has always been a source of inspiration. Here, four high-end jazz musicians are inspired by his words — drummer Chris Massey, bassist Steve Swallow, saxophonist David CasT, and atmospheric guitarist David Torn develop improvisations that are „triggered,“ so to speak, by Creeley’s readings. The poet has often read in public, and his phrasing and sense of drama captivate as much as the music unfolding around him.
Taken from a show in September 1998, this CD should be experienced from start to finish so that the listener can be completely immersed in its artistic universe (all tracks segue). The proceedings remain rather accessible throughout, and poetry fans will have no difficulty staying on board. David Torn’s sometimes tortured guitar loops bring a contrasting note to the otherwise jazzy approach of CasT, Massey, and Swallow, so there is something for everybody here — that is, everybody able (or willing) to appreciate true artistic expression. Recommended.“ –François Couture / All Music Guide
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