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The Poetry of Jazz

by Benjamin Boone and Philip Levine

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    You will also get a bonus track - the instrumental version of THEY FEED THEY LION!
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    6 panel full color CD packaging, designed by John Bishop. Origin Records 82754

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Poetry of Jazz via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 5 Benjamin Boone releases available on Bandcamp and save 20%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of CAUGHT IN THE RHYTHM, The Poets Are Gathering, JOY, The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two, and The Poetry of Jazz. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

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Gin 04:25
The first time I drank gin I thought it must be hair tonic. My brother swiped the bottle from a guy whose father owned a drug store that sold booze in those ancient, honorable days when we acknowledged the stuff was a drug. Three of us passed the bottle around, each tasting with disbelief. People paid for this? People had to have it, the way we had to have the women we never got near. (Actually they were girls, but never mind, the important fact........... (continued)
I call out a secret name the name of the angel who guards my sleep, and light grows in the east, a new light like no other, as soft as the petals of the brown rose of late summer..... (cont)
Practicing his horn on the Williamsburg Bridge hour after hour, “woodshedding” the musicians called it, but his woodshed was the world. The enormous tone he borrowed from Hawkins that could fill a club to overflowing blown into tatters by the sea winds.... (cont)
Yakov 05:14
My uncle told me of the cabin in the forest, his house for years thirty-five or more - he'd lost count long ago. From miles off descending into the valley as evening gathered in the branches of larch and oak he'd catch the smell of wood smoke, the thin plume that always brought him home. "The silence, it was all, it was everything." ... (cont)
Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter, Out of black bean and wet slate bread, Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar, Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies, They Lion grow.... (cont)
Wakening in a small room, the walls high and blue, one high window through which the morning enters, I turn to the table beside me painted a think white. There instead of a clock is a tumbler of water... (cont)
The young woman sewing by the window hums a song I don’t know; I hear only a few bars, and when the trucks barrel down the broken walkway between our buildings the music is lost. Before the darkness leaks from the shadows of the great cathedral... (cont)
My mother tells me she dreamed of John Coltrane, a young Trane playing his music with such joy and contained energy and rage she could not hold back her tears. And sitting awake now, her hands... (cont)
Arrival 01:36
If the express should slow and then suddenly stop and sit utterly still for minutes on end and all talk stop and no one question the stillness, no voice announce what, if anything, is about to transpire... (cont)
First the windows gray, then go black again, but gray is on the way. Williams lights up and says, It’s on the way, but I can’t hear him over the over- head cranes. I don’t look up because up is not sunlight breaking above the eastern hills or even rain clouds meant to cool our fevers or telephone wires clogged with bad news. Up is the flat steel... (cont)
Our Valley 03:20
We don't see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay    of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment    you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass... (cont)
Some days I catch a rhythm, almost a song    in my own breath. I'm alone here    in Brooklyn Heights, late morning, the sky    above the St. George Hotel clear, clear    for New York, that is. The radio playing    "Bird Flight," Parker in his California    tragic voice fifty years ago, his faltering    "Lover Man" just before he crashed into chaos.    I would guess that outside the recording studio    in Burbank... (cont)
Two women and a small girl— perhaps three or four years old—resting in the shade of the fir trees. From far off the roar of the world coming back one more time. First a few words tossed back and forth between awakening men and then the machines.... (cont)
What Work Is 03:07
We stand in the rain in a long line waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work. You know what work is--if you're old enough to read this you know what work is, although you may not do it. Forget you. This is about waiting, shifting from one foot to another. Feeling the light rain falling like mist into your hair, blurring your vision until you think you see your own brother... (cont)


“You hold in your hands jazz history. This is a CD that must be heard!"
~ Pianist and Producer, Donald Brown

“[Boone] is one of the very few that can lure Phil's poetry-magic and call it out and show it to the world… Beyond words… up there with the muses.”
~ Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States

“Benjamin Boone’s music is a tour de force, a mellow whirlwind of jazz and poetry.” ~ Guy Livingston, “American Highways,” ConcertZender (Netherlands Radio)

A new precedent for pairing jazz with poetry, with performances by Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, & Chris Potter joining Boone’s core ensemble as Levine recites 14 of his iconic poems set to original music they inspired.


released March 19, 2018

Philip Levine – poetry and narration
Benjamin Boone –alto/soprano saxophone (all but 3, 9, 13)
Tom Harrell – trumpet (6)
Branford Marsalis – tenor saxophone (8)
Greg Osby – alto saxophone (12)
Chris Potter –tenor saxophone (3)
Stefan Poetzsch – violin (10, 11)
Karen Marguth – vocals (1,7)
Max Hembd - trumpet (4, 5, 10)
David Aus – piano (2-6, 10-14)
Craig von Berg – piano (1, 7, 8, 10)
Spee Kosloff – bass (1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12)
Nye Morton – bass (4, 5, 11, 14)
John Lauffenburger - bass (6,8)
Brian Hamada – drums (1-3, 6-8, 10, 12)
Gary Newmark – drums (4, 5, 11, 14)
Atticus Boone - French horn (6)
Asher Boone - trumpet (6)
Branford Marsalis appears courtesy of Marsalis Music.

Produced by Donald Brown
Primary recording and engineering by Eric Sherbon, Maximus Media, Fresno, CA
Additional recording by Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY; Sutton Sound, San Luis Obispo, CA; and Squeeze Studio, Blue Anchor, NJ.
Edited by Vincent Keenan and Benjamin Boone
Mixed and Mastered by Mike Marciano, Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY

Music by Benjamin Boone except Making Light of It and What Work Is by David Aus, and Arrival by Spee Kosloff.

Legal: Bob Hirth, Marc Ostrow
Booking: booking@BenjaminBoone.com
Press: Terri Hinte +1 510 234-8781; hudba@sbcglobal.net

Benjamin Boone | Philip Levine
The Poetry of Jazz
© 2018 Benjamin Boone
Poetry © Philip Levine


all rights reserved



Benjamin Boone Fresno, California

Benjamin Boone is a jazz saxophonist, composer, professor, and U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Ireland (2022-23), Ghana (2017-18) and the Republic of Moldova (2006). His Origin Records album THE POETRY OF JAZZ was #3 "Best Album of 2018" in the 83rd Annual Downbeat Readers Poll and featured on NPR's All Things Considered, The Paris Review, and many others. Websites: BenjaminBoone.com & OriginArts.com ... more

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