Sam Sadigursky composed a jazz album around poetry. Get this: it's not a clichéd jazz and poetry crossover. Sadigursky focused on a piece of poetry for each song. "At this point," he said, "I have about 30 settings I've done, some definitely worked better than others."
Lyrics are sung, The Words Project
isn't a spoken word album. The poems haven’t been packed into verse-chorus formats. Songs are generally extended tracks, improvisation gets as much breathing room as the vocals. They sometimes share the same space. It’s doesn’t come across as a studio project, rather a live band’s archival release. The album conveys the looseness of performance. Some of that’s the recording itself, bleed from the piano microphones let us hear Pete Rende voicing solos.
"Love" is an harmonic suspense and resolutions in the midst of a vocal mantra. Sadigursky’s at his best here, the band ebbing as Sadigursky weaves a melody that switches between triumphant and introspective soundscapes. Piano and saxophone entrance while bass and drums collide. "Gardener and Flower Too" soars with one of Sadigurksy’s best solos. The dramatic, up-tempo piece stands out from a batch of relatively mellow songs.
Take "Water, Aspirin, You," a jagged, mildly demented poem with a suitably uneasy musical interpretation. The song turns a corner when the band digs into a new chord progression for Nate Radley’s guitar solo. "Epitaph for a Pair of Old Shoes" also alters rhythm and harmony when the solos start. The improvisation is always exciting, enough to make repeated listens enjoyable. The Words Project
is a great piece of modern jazz and an accessible album for new jazz listeners.