Monday, April 6, 2009

poetry turned into jazz?

So when I saw this article originally I was pretty excited about it (They introduce the piece by saying that it's both National Poetry month AND Jazz Appreciation month)  but after listening to the songs I am kind of disappointed.  Strange Fruit is, of course, incredible but I am unimpressed by the others.

Poems In Song: Turning Words Into Jazz

Hear Five Songs

Pablo Neruda (300 tall)
Keystone / Hulton Archive

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's poems were interpreted into song by Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza.

WDUQ, April 6, 2009 - April is Jazz Appreciation Month, as well as National Poetry Month. This week's Take Five celebrates both art forms in the same place.

Each of the five songs featured here was originally written as a poem to be read, not as lyrics to be sung. The jazz artists here transformed the poems into lyrics that fit their particular style and phrasing, and then composed music to round out the interpretations. You won't find any examples of "jazz poetry," or poetry spoken over a jazz-music accompaniment — those are entirely different subjects and styles.

The first four songs are based on poems by Pablo Neruda, Theodore Roethke, E.E. Cummings and Paul Verlaine. If you aren't an avid poetry reader, you might at least recognize these from a literature class. The fifth selection, "Strange Fruit," is a historically important song, condemning American racism, originally published in a teachers' union magazine in the 1930s. The song — and its impact — has an entire book dedicated to it.

Each entry includes a link to a book in which you can find each poem and further explore the poet's works. In the meantime, enjoy five jazz re-imaginations of literary works here.

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