Robert Creeley [May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005] was one of America's greatest living poets; he was the link between the Beat poets of Greenwich Village and those of Black Mountain College. Creeley has long acknowledged the influence of jazz and improvised music on his work.
In this collaboration of music and poetry, recorded live 9/98, Creeley reads his texts while the extremely talented band of David Torn [guitar, processing], Steve Swallow [electric bass], David CasT [saxes, bass clarinet] and Chris Massey [drums, percussion] provide a lively mesh of music that supports and augments the reading. This disc provides a permanent record of the quintet's emotionally moving performance, a work of art in which poetry, music and process become one.
"Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know? is Cuneiform's second foray into spoken word. ....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 / All Music Guide
released January 15, 2001
Robert Creeley - spoken word
Chris Massey - drums
Steve Swallow - bass
David CasT - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
David Torn - guitar, liveloops, oud, microcassettes
supported by 19 fans who also own “Have We Told You All You'd Thought to Know?”
This is a wonderful album! Dave Douglas is one of my heroes. He's more than a great musician. He has a vision for the music and a feeling for putting together a group which is unique. So, beside Joey Baron (another heavyweight and one of my absolute favourite drummers) he invited some young cats to this session. They play just great and make sure that this music sounds totally fresh, whilst at the same time being deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. Florian Arbenz