“Poetry is Blood”

By Andrew Scott, TheWholeNote (p 67), Dec. ’23 & Jan ’24

Much in the same way that musical improvisation is sometimes referred to as ‘liquid composition,’ and, conversely, composition as ‘frozen improvisation,’ there exists a simpatico relationship to the best poetry and musical collaborations. Great poetry is indeed musical, and the best musical offerings poetic.

Although prior to listening to the thoughtful, and thought-provoking recording of ‘Poetry is Blood‘ by Keith Garebian (with musical contributions from the great Ernie Tollar), my reference for successful fusions of poetry and jazz was limited to Jack Kerouac’s ‘October in the Railroad Earth or American Haikus,’ where the late Beat writer’s prose is accompanied by some combination of Steve Allen, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims. While admittedly genre non-adjacent to my aforementioned Kerouac reference, Garebian’s 2023 release, supported by a Mississauga Arts Council grant, is an equally compelling offering. Presenting 18 poems taken from some 40 contained within Garebian’s 2018 book of the same name, this recording explores both dark and introspective themes as related to the ongoing Armenian genocide. As such, engaged listeners once again bear witness to the power of art to comment upon, contextualize and humanize tragic events that, in our 24-hour news cycle, may wax and wane in our collective imagination, but are nonetheless important to be reminded of and educated about.

Read by the author in his fine voice and accompanied by Tollar on both flute and percussion utililizing a call-and-response trope of effective musical communication, the recording is not an easy listen, given the sobering magnitude of the subject matter but for those looking to expand their knowledge of this unfolding world event through deeply personal and effective poetry and creative reflection, this recording comes highly recommended.

*****

Original Music flute/percussion: ERNIE TOLLAR
Recording Engineer: ANTHONY PAIANO, Exodus Studio
Graphic Design/Layout: RICHARD BOUDREAU, accudub.com
CD Mastering/Production: accudub.com
Price $ 12.00 plus $ 2.00 postage (in Canada)
To order, please contact [email protected]

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