Take Me To The Promise Land
You can hear the blues any time and any where, but you will never really understand
the blues until you experience the roots which gave it birth. The musical antiphony
(call and response) of work songs, field hollers hummed in meditation. Spirituals
that sang about the depths of despair, freedom and crossing the rivers of hope into
a land of promise. During the times of slavery many were introduced to the gospel
of truth but it was the reinterpretation of the words through the mental psyche of
those in captivity that gave birth to new musical form. Out of that new musical
form, rhythm & blues, gospel, jazz and rock n roll all take shape. The solitary
“field holler” and the work songs with African infused syncopation and
improvisation set the stage for the negro Spirituals.
Captured in this Cd Post Modern Spirituals: “The Promise Land” by Tyrone Birkett
& Emancipation is a modern interpretation of that Spiritual essence which resonates
in the instrumental and vocal phrasing, tugging on the emotions, then dropping you
first hand into the fields and plantations where spirituals were conceived and the
cries for freedom echoed through the melodies. The use of instrumentation is
fascinating for the listener, the drum brushes sweep across the surface as chains
slow dragging in the tempo of a work song. The vocals reflect the clear cries of
heart strings for deliverance.
The piano notes tinkle like tear drops while sax and bass notes are bent with
improvisation and emotion. The organ work grinds and drags out one more step,
one more breath to get you through the toil of the day. This Cd is infused with
modern soul and gospel that really adds a contemporary take on the musical history
of negro spirituals. The tracks on the Cd in my opinion are not individual songs
to sing but rather parts of a musical story with its counter parts being the lives
of men, women and children who helped shaped America, impacted the world and
created new music forms.
What a powerful Cd and moving musical experience. After all isn’t that what music
is supposed to do, touch you , move you, invoke emotions while speaking to your
heart. That’s why Billie Holiday is Lady Day and why Louis Armstrong changed music
forever, their instruments had something to say and say it they did. Now it’s
Birkett’s turn with a masterpiece of work in a music genre hardly tackled by any
of the music masters.