Tue, 31 January 2017
With the release of Meditations on Freedom, Noah Preminger takes a stand against what he perceives as difficult, even dangerous times to be an artist, to say nothing of an American. While it’s the third album featuring the tenor player’s current quartet - Jason Palmer (trumpet), Kim Cass (double-bass) and Ian Froman (drums) – it’s his first to take classic protest songs and mix them with his own compositions that reflect the tumultuous times in which we live.
It only took a few weeks from the project’s genesis – a political conversation with his friends and engineer Jimmy Katz – until the band had completed a series of urgent, one take tunes. Whether covering Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke or George Harrison, or his own topically titled work – “The 99 Percent,” “Women’s March,” “Mother Earth,” “Broken Treaties,” “We Have a Dream,”- there is great power, emotion, and even a little bit of hope in the album.
I talked with Noah way back in Podcast 380, and since then he has grown in stature and artistic spirit. Preminger’s previous albums Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground and Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar justly earned wide acclaim for their emotional intensity and individualist engagement with the blues. He followed those with a set showcasing his more intimate, romantic side with a collection of ballads, Some Other Time, released exclusively as a vinyl LP by Newvelle Records. He recorded this with a dream band featuring old collaborator Ben Monder, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Billy Hart.
Podcast 559 is my conversation with Noah, as we discuss the latest album, how he feels he can make a statement in the Trump era, and where his talents will lead him next. Musical selections include “The 99 Percent,” “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth,” and “Broken Treaties”.