By Bob Doerschuk | Published June 2017
It’s been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, though certainly not by anyone in music journalism. But is playing music about issues of concern equally pointless? Musicians and critics surely would unite to deliver a resounding, “No.” Especially after they’ve listened to Meditations On Freedom.
Whether composed by Noah Preminger or drawn from the canon of songs inspired by inequity and injustice, these nine tracks derive their eloquence from two primary sources.
The first of course is the players involved. Preminger highlights this effectively with opening sections that spotlight duo combinations. Check the overtone chimes and double-stops that flavor Kim Cass’ bass alongside the sax at the top of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Then submit to a more solemn spell, with Preminger and Jason Palmer treating listeners to the theme from “Only A Pawn In Their Game,” as if they were reading Scripture together.
The other key to Preminger’s method is to omit a harmonic instrument from this session. Including a piano would inject a sense of structural anticipation: It would be diffcult for the player to not signal an impending chord change, cadence or chorus. Compositionally, of course, that’s a prerequisite for this material. But Preminger removes that aspect of listening and probably even of playing these works.
Will any of this music actually increase the odds of world peace? Probably not. But it will take you to a better place—and that’s important, too.
Meditations On Freedom: Only A Pawn In Their Game; Just 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. (49:45)
Personnel: Noah Preminger, saxophone; Jason Palmer, trumpet; Kim Cass, bass; Ian Froman, drums.