Notespeak – Every Generation’s War
What exactly is the history of the spoken word in jazz music? It actually has its earliest roots in the late 1920′s and 1930′s when scatting along with a jazz tune, became more commonplace. This started with the vocals imitating the instruments but later came to be rhythmic words spoken in beat to the music. Even later, in the late 1950′s and 1960′s, modern music borrowed elements of this ‘talking jazz’ into what was to be called ‘beat poetry’. The words were moved from containing only relational importance to the music to being the most important element, with the music an afterthought or even simple improvisation. After several generations, we now have hip-hop and rap music, which owe to both of these styles. Notespeak, led by vocalist Lisa Marie Simmons, takes a page from each of these historic references, making their version of spoken-word jazz one of the most enticing pieces of musical style to date, and they do so with messaging firmly in mind.
Enter Every Generation’s War (seen/heard here), from NoteSpeak (Amori e Tragedie In Musica) (March 2020) that is punctuated by the sung refrain:
“Every generation’s war, guarantees, there will always be one more.”
This is powerful all by itself, but when Lisa Marie Simmons prose kicks in, it reminds us just how badly we have failed not to repeat the mistakes of past generations. It documents the failures of every nation but certainly highlights how badly the U.S. has done.
Musically, Notespeak jams gently, ebbs, and flows freely, with composer and lyricist Simmons’ words up-front as they should be. Musicians, at least on this live performance, include Marco Cremaschin (keyboards), Laura Masotto (violin), Marco Cocconi (bass), Federico Negri (percussion), and Manuel Caliumi (sax). Each performs admirably just beneath Simmons. The LP contains a number of other musicians in guest roles. The LP deals with war, racism, and all manner of social injustices, in a way that is poignant, yet delivered, not with anger, but with calm resolve.
You can find more about Notespeak by heading up to Lisa Marie Simmons website, which includes a section on Notespeak and the other ensemble that Simmons fronts, Hippie Tendencies. There’s a nice biography on the site as well as all of the social links that you require. You can pick up Notespeak music from Simmons’ bandcamp.com site.
Pick up Notespeak now!
Note: With Covid-19 still around, probably to be with us for some time, artists like Lisa Marie Simmons and Notespeak, and many others, need your purchases to keep their heads above water. If your situation allows it, consider purchasing more in these tough times. –Vodka