Ishamel Reed, poet, essayist and scholar that many of us knew was a genius before the MacArthur Foundation made it official, plays piano on this CD with the same forthright finality of his writing.
Other members of the Ishmael Reed Quintet are David Murray on saxophone, Roger Glenn on flute, Carla Blank on violin and Chris Planas on guitar.
Murray and Glenn are famous as musicians.
Planas, I found out, is also a veteran musician.
But it’s hearing Reed explore a new voice as a musician that’s so endearing, moving and refreshing.
I mean, why not?
Carla, Ishmael’s wife, is also better known as a dancer, but she’s gone back to playing the instrument she studied in the past.
This is not to say the music isn’t first-rate.
It holds up to all that’s out there by people who play music and don’t dance or speak poetry.
It is Music that cuts through all the Noise (music making money, music on the charts, music that says nothing) to transport the listener to that special kind of space where people play/speak freely with just the power of intelligence and insight.
On another note, poetry and piano met in Tokyo when Eddie Palmieri took the stage.
My son/drummer Isaku, his percussionist friend Winchester Nii Tete (playing MON Sept. 3 at Shinjuku Pit Inn) and I sat right in front.
And I must say I literally saw colors jump out of that grand piano _ warm yellow like fireflies, sparkling crystal like pink stars and a collage of hues like a swirling rainbow.
Sorry about all the cliches, but it’s true what they say about how sounds have colors.
(Please go on Isaku’s blog to see video footage.
But you probably can’t see the colors on YouTube video. Something that perhaps come close:
Close your eyes and see Piet Mondrian.)
Thank God for all the poets and pianists of the world.