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Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know?

Robert Creeley, Chris Massey, Steve Swallow, David Cast & David Torn

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Album Review

Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know? is Cuneiform's second foray into spoken word. But while Richard Pinhas and Maurice Dantec's settings of Gilles Deleuze's philosophical writings (The Life and Death of Marie Zorn) resulted in claustrophobic shrouds of electric guitars and treated, almost inaudible vocals in French, this project around the poetry of Robert Creeley puts the words centerstage and accompanies them with soft free improvisations with a jazz inflection. Creeley needs no introduction; he has a strong reputation and his relation to jazz has always been a source of inspiration. Here, four high-end jazz musicians are inspired by his words — drummer Chris Massey, bassist Steve Swallow, saxophonist David CasT, and atmospheric guitarist David Torn develop improvisations that are "triggered," so to speak, by Creeley's readings. The poet has often read in public, and his phrasing and sense of drama captivate as much as the music unfolding around him. Taken from a show in September 1998, this CD should be experienced from start to finish so that the listener can be completely immersed in its artistic universe (all tracks segue). The proceedings remain rather accessible throughout, and poetry fans will have no difficulty staying on board. David Torn's sometimes tortured guitar loops bring a contrasting note to the otherwise jazzy approach of CasT, Massey, and Swallow, so there is something for everybody here — that is, everybody able (or willing) to appreciate true artistic expression. Recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know?, Robert Creeley
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