By Jeff Becker
Meditations on Freedom
Is open and civil discourse happening in today’s political
climate, or have we reached an all-time low of leveling our fellow humans to a
place of alienation, leaving many marginalized and without a voice. Enter Noah Preminger’s Meditations on Freedom, a poignantly well-timed collection of tunes
meant to be reflected upon.
Joined by trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass and Ian
Froman on drums this ensemble has seen the light of day on two previous
releases, Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar and
Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.
A blues underpinning is a key factor in Meditations on Freedom giving it a
nostalgic feeling of protest songs that string together a lineage of events.
The opener is a Bob Dylan's civil rights classic "Only
a Pawn in Their Game" and takes a respectful approach to Dylan’s purposed
pen, before opening up as a group, for jazz improvisational outreach.
Bruce Horsnby is always a master at the simple yet effective
tune, and his original "The Way It Is," is given a modern treatment
with an edgy and commanding approach. The
civil rights movement would not be complete without ruminating on, Sam Cooke's
"A Change Is Gonna Come,” and this is where Preminger really shines, a
gritty delta blues feel drives this tune and speaks to generations with emotive
influence. Members of the Beatles were known for their more introspective
latter years, and who better to portray that moment musically than George
Harrison's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" which was
originally written as a part of his ongoing humanitarian aid project to bring
awareness to the plight of Bangladesh refugees.
So, let’s examine Preminger’s originals, which are eloquently mirrored among these
iconoclastic covers. “We Have a
Dream" conveys a sense of this generations message, while the nature
focused "Mother Earth" covers the ever-urgent message of our planet
and her needs. The poignancy of “Women's
March" reflects the struggle that women face in today’s times of turning
the clock back and losing the rights that have already been fought for by their
predecessors. "The 99 Percent" and "Broken Treaties" are a
true reflection of where so many feel they are today; the feeling of disparity,
the depression of helplessness and the anger and embitterment each day can bring,
without any hope.
With eight leader releases and an additional six as a
sideman, one cannot help but call Preminger inexhaustible. But it’s not just his fertileness, he also
has a focused creative approach that is virile and filled with depth. With
the release of Meditations on Freedom,
this steps Preminger into a new realm of enlightened discography. One that
truly sets him on a path of greatness to come.
Track Listing: Only a Pawn in Their Game; The Way It Is; A
Change Is Gonna Come; We Have a Dream; Mother Earth; Women’s March; The 99
Percent; Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth); Broken Treaties.
Personnel: Noah Preminger: saxophone; Jason Palmer: trumpet;
Kim Cass: double-bass; Ian Froman: drums.