Saxophonist and composer Sam Sadigursky is hard at work, and this year, we can finally experience the fourth installment of his adventurous text-setting series The Words Project (New Amsterdam Records). A great deal has happened in the 33-year old’s life since the project was recorded: he’s married now, which coincided with a move from his home in Brooklyn to Manhattan, and is also now a father to a baby girl born in January, 2012. “There are so many reasons that this record took almost two years to come out. My other CD’s have come out in a much more timely fashion. It feels a bit strange to be putting this out almost two years after it was recorded, but given the magnitude of those two years, it’s exciting to revisit this material and see it from a different perspective.”
Several things set Words Project IV apart from the other three albums in the series: it is entirely acoustic and Sadigursky restricts himself to only playing saxophones and clarinet. Most importantly, instead of using a cast of singers as on previous recordings, he solely features vocalist Christine Correa. “The music is really written for Christine. I fell in love with her voice listening to Frank Carlberg’s CD’s over the years, and she’s such a huge and unique musical presence. I’m such a big fan of Frank’s music, and was too intimidated to reach out to her for a long time, partly for fear of being in Frank’s shadow. When I finally did, she brought so much to my music and was so easy to work with that I had to write for her.” Sadigursky continues, “In addition to her incredible musicianship and versatility, one of the things I like most is that Christine isn’t afraid to get ugly, which many singers are unable to do, but she also has an amazing and beautiful voice when she wants to. She takes chances musically that many other singers would shy away from, which energizes the band and really electrifies the music.”
The rest of the group consists of Laurent Coq, piano; Yoni Zelnik, bass; and Karl Jannuskaon drums, all based in Paris. Sadigursky first worked with this group when he received Chamber Music America’s French American Jazz Exchange grant with Laurent Coq, which lead to a 2009 performance of new music for Radio Franceand several other gigs as well, which Correa was also a part of. “I felt an immediate ease, comfort, and confidence with this group, and immediately felt that I had a musical home away from home. They’ve all played so much together as a unit, and it just felt good the first time we played together, musically and personality wise. They were so committed to the music – I never needed to give them much direction.” Despite the logistical challenges of living on s eparate continents, following their 2009 meeting Laurent Coq stubbornly insisted that the group find a way to record the music that the two had written for this project, and Sam then decided to use the group for his own collection of music as well. “We actually recorded two CD’s in the same week at Le Buissone, a beautiful studio in the French countryside, which has a residence attached where we all stayed and cooked meals and stayed up late drinking wine together. Getting to record for four days straight in that kind of setting and share that deep a camaraderie was something I’ll never forget.”
Read an extended interview about the album here.
There are cheerful and contemplative art songs on this record in equal measure. “Speak, sir, and be wise” says Carl Sandberg’s quatrain Basket, Christine Correa’s voice as careful as the poem in a song that encapsulates Sadigursky’s phraseology. Pared down piano and drums lead us intoRunaway, an edgy song of exploration. The Bestiary Suitereminds one of Pictures at An Exhibition as it musically mimics the movements and thoughts of personified animals. The piano in Nothing helps the vocal gain confidence and as it does so, the other instruments lend force to the argument: “If we the flesh…come to an end, why not they as well?”. What Do Women Want is a surprisingly quirky song, lots of foley-like noises remind you of street sounds, while the fragile vocal thinks about her wishes: “I want to walk like I’m the only/ woman on earth and I can have my pick.” A memorable, pensive piano motif leads us seamlessly into Fear, where the shudders of the lyric pass from instrument to instrument. The melody of Make the pie higher! is written over the chord changes to Cole Porter’s ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’. Unravelling counterpoint conjures up an audience listening
incredulously to whatever mangled phrase Dubya came up with during his presidency. Snatch of Sliphorn Jazz is an upbeat song with a twist: “It’s the doubled-up doggone happy people…they do bust hard”. The band members sing Bertold Brecht’s Motto together as if to convince themselves “there will be singing” in the dark times. An uplifting Simple Love Song “that limns the years” concludes the album. The softly rumbling cymbal, the rippling piano, the lilting vocal all confirm: “this is the love that makes it right.”
Sam Sadigursky comes away unscathed from an impressive, mature, and “vulnerable” acoustic Words Project IV. He successfully matches phrases from the page with adventurous and lyrical music. Sadigursky’s creative force have surely progressed and evolved, and this year we will get to hear just how much he has been up to in the years since we last heard from him.
NYC Album Release Show
March 6, 2013
45 Bleecker St, New York, NY
Album Release Date: February 26, 2013