Continuing to draw inspiration from the words of poets both legendary and obscure, saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist and composer Sam Sadigursky returns with the third volume of his critically lauded Words Project. The most musically rich and stylistically diverse entry in the series, words project iii represents another breathtaking leap in Sadigursky’s compositional evolution. Subtitled “Miniatures”, the new CD nearly doubles the number of pieces from each of the previous albums, offering eighteen short, gorgeous works that celebrate the emotional depth possible in a few brief lines of verse or a seemingly simple musical flourish.
For the occasion, Sadigursky gathered a roster of musicians that he’s worked with in a variety of different New York scenes, from various styles of jazz, Latin and world music, classical settings, and even other musicians from the New Amsterdam family. His closest collaborator this time out was producer/multi-instrumentalist and, on five tracks, vocalist Michael Leonhart, whose credits include Steely Dan, Vinicius Cantuaria, and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band. Other voices include Monika Heidemann, Sunny Kim, Karlie Bruce, Christine Correa, Jamie Leonhart, Heather Masse, Roland Satterwhite, and Sadigursky himself.
Texts are taken from an array of sources including American poets Emily Dickinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Carl Sandburg and modernist William Carlos Williams; Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa; Colombian León de Greiff; and Russian author Maxim Gorky. One piece, “Tears” was based on a poem written by a child imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in Terezin, Czech Republic, and is part of a suite based on such works that Sadigursky hopes to record in the future.
The album has garnered much critical attention, called “personal, not particularly restricted by ideas of musical genre, quite complex and resolutely unshowy” (New York Times), a “fine collection” (JazzChicago.net), and “a self-contained sound world of beguiling combinations of vocalists and mysterious orchesration” (Detroit Free Press). Doug Ramsey of All About Jazz remarked upon reviewing Sadigursky’s work that with respect to the highs and lows of jazz-poetry hybrids over the past 90 years, “we may be at one of the peaks.”