Shakers N' Bakers: In Me Canoe
In Me Canoe
Shakers N' Bakers
YFZ (Yearning For Zion) (Little (i) Music CD103)
Jeff Lederer (tenor, soprano saxes), Jamie Saft (Baldwin electric harpsichord, organ, piano), Chris Lightcap (bass), Allison Miller (drums).
New arrangement of a Shaker vision song.
Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, June 6, 2008
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
It's not often that you get the chance to draw a line (however indirectly) between an 18th-century religious subculture and modern jazz. Here's the backstory: the newly formed Shaker communities eschewed the musical fare of established churches, instead relying on "vision songs," thought to be of divine origin, transferred to an individual by deceased Shakers, angels or the Savior. The song was often learned while the recipient was in a trance, offering up the new spiritual message in tongues. Shakers N' Bakers take a similarly radical approach to the Shaker vision song. The idea of applying free improvisation to this source material might lead you to prepare for some wacky solos overlaying jazzed-up arrangements of the original song. Well, you would not have prepared yourself properly. This track sounds like the 1972 disco hit "Soul Makossa" as if sung by Kate Bush in duet with Captain Beefheart. A thick & funky groove develops thanks to some great saxophone and organ work, while vocalists Mary LaRose and Miles Griffith leap octaves, squeak, moan and grumble with abandon – an edgy jazz version of speaking in tongues. One of the most exciting tunes I've heard this year, by far.
Reviewer: Mark Saleski