Friday, July 8, 2011

Children of the Blue Supermarket: Dan Raphael's Poetry Melds with Rich Halley's Jazz

Poetry-Jazz collaborations can vary wildly from the "Why?" to the "Wow!" The poetry of course should be worth hearing. But equally, the recitation should have a dynamism of pitch-speech performance excitement. Then of course the jazz needs to relate to all that and in the end be jazz that's worth hearing alongside the poetic meanings evoked.

Children of the Blue Supermarket (Pine Eagle 002) qualifies on each of those levels. The CD was recorded during two live appearances in 2008 and 2009 at the Penofin Jazz Festival in Potter Valley, California. Dan Raphael does his poetry; Rich Halley responds on tenor, Carson Halley on drums.

Raphael has the hipster delivery and urgency that his postmodern poetry demands. Despair, hope, surreal-real imagery and inner-outer responses to the decaying "service"-oriented post-industrial nightmare tumble together in a series of thought-images that have a stream of poet-riff style of presentation. And that seems right. Rich and Carson Halley respond with a post-Ornettian freedom that makes for good listening with or without the poetry. The Blue Supermarket works as a totality. The poems, the urgent recitation, the counter narrative of end-modernity on a purely musical level, all of it fits. All of it works. It's hip. It's sincere. It forces you out of an everyday thought mode and into a rarified world where there are combinations like the ones we experience in everyday life, but put together in "peculiar" ways to get us thinking and feeling differently. It's a winner. "Safety is smelling bad and moving slowly," Mr. Raphael tells us. Good to remember.

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