Glenn Close’s carefully curated spoken word jazz album is a calculator ready for change-Entertainment News, Firstpost

Transformation: Personal Stories of Change, Acceptance and Evolution is a more philosophical than free jazz album, more a chronicle of social change than a quiet listening track.

In perhaps the most transformative time of our lives, celebrates actress Glenn Close’s carefully curated speech with the jazz album Transformation: personal stories of change, acceptance and growth.

Covering a range of personal stories that speak to dealing with lives in transition, the album mixes speech with the eclectic jazz tunes of Grammy winner Ted Nash and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, to create a audio book of introspection and revelation. . Crossing a range of issues from race and gender identity to humanity and relationships, the album seeks to convey many messages related to the theme of change.

Powerful storytelling by an array of notable names including actors like Close herself, Wayne Brady and Amy Irving, Matthew Stevenson, as well as Nash’s son Eli; sincere words that aim to provoke thought and convey emotions often came from the writings of famous poets such as Ted Hughes.

More philosophical than the free nature of jazz, the album is a ready calculator for change, and how acceptance comes with healing.

Yet when we look at it in isolation, the album is as musical as it is literary, although in the quest for a balance between the two, we crave more of Nash’s exquisite music. Opening with a narration (Creation Part 1) by Close and Brady, who read Hughes’ Ovid’s Tales, the album begins to explore the whys and whys of our existence. This is then followed by Creation Part 2, a delicious orchestral piece that sets the tone for the album.

Not all spoken word tracks have a musical response, although one of my favorite performance sets on the album is the ‘Dear daddy’ a. In the evocative narration ‘Dear dad / Letter», Writes a young woman to her father about some changes in her life, in particular that she is now her son Eli. Nash’s brilliance shines through in his instrumental response ‘Dear dad / Answer, “Takes us through a range of emotions and musical notes that seem authentic and cheerful. Starting with a medium tempo, the song builds up as does the father’s acceptance and encouragement to his son. This is exactly the kind of response one wishes to get from their parents, especially when dealing with subjects that require a lot of attention. The number will resonate with our friends in the LGBTQ + community, making it wishful thinking in tough times.

The choice of spoken word pieces is particularly interesting because the fight against change often ends in a better place than when it started. Amy Irving’s reading of Judith Clarke’s text in ‘One of many“. Clarke is a parolee from prison who, in this narrative, regrets the harm she has done in the past while now grateful for the purpose her life has earned since being released from prison. The song picks up speed with drum solos and a polished brass section.

The story of emotional rebirth is decidedly boisterous in Brady’s interpretation of his own theme of being an angry black man in America. With pops that push him to express his angst and a persuasive groove that sets the pace, his transformation is fueled by his forgiveness of those who insulted him in the past, set against the backdrop of the kind of smooth jazz notes that one just associated. with single malts and cigars. Brady is superlative in his treatment of words – highlighting the persistence of lightness and stigma, and humorous the very circumstances that led to it. Without sounding didactic, Brady handles it neutrally while resorting to the occasional dark humor.

On paper, the work of Matthew Stevenson ‘Come out of hate ‘ is a necessary treatise that addresses the idea of ​​racism from a white perspective. Based on the true story of a hardened neo-Nazi, who transforms into an all-encompassing person who does not resort to stereotypes of color / race / ethnicity, this is the kind of narrative that is incredibly relevant in the world of today. We are often bombarded with news that even in times of a pandemic, some people cannot look beyond their regressive worldview. So one could imagine that ‘Come out of hate ‘ gets up on occasion. Still, there’s an undeniable contention that it’s hard to shake off despite Stevenson’s best efforts to bring words to life.

Nash and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra do their best to give the album a sonic relief amid literary gravitas and succeed in most parts. There are beautiful moments when jazz musicians give expression and clarity to the emotion of words. Despite all this, one cannot help but wish for more of their orchestral brilliance (example: Tony KushnerAngels in America ‘). Close’s robust selection isn’t always consistent, but there’s a lot to be learned in terms of insight.

For listeners in India, the stories will ring close enough to home even though contexts and cultures may change. The ‘Dear daddy’ The set, for example, serves as wishful thinking not only to our LGBTQ + friends, but also to children who have had to forge their own path, often at the risk of disappointing their parents and destroying this sacred idea of ​​”honor. of the family”.

Yet in efforts such as Transformation, it is finally up to each auditor to allow himself the transformation that he is himself ready to undergo during the process. The album is uneven sound exposure that can be more of a listen depending on where you are in your life. It’s not the idea of ​​listening quietly, but as a chronicle of social change, it’s much more effective.

Ted Nash: composer, conductor, sop saxophone
Glenn Close: curator
Wayne Brady, Amy Irving, Matthew Stevenson, Eli Nash: spoken word
Wynton Marsalis: trumpet
Presented by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Listen to the full album here.


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