Press

Jazz Album Pride Points

  • #3 “Jazz Album of the Year” in Downbeat Magazine’s 83rd Annual Readers’ Poll, just behind Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis, for The Poetry of Jazz, 2019.
  • Downbeat Magazine’s “Best Albums of 2018” included The Poetry of Jazz.
  • NPR’s Terry Gross referenced Boone as a leader in the current poetry-jazz resurgence on “Fresh Air,” September 5, 2019.
  • Amazon #1 Best Seller (over 10 weeks) for The Poetry of Jazz, The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two, and Joy.
  • Top 100 on JazzWeek radio charts for over a month for the albums The Poetry of Jazz, The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two, and Joy.

Praise for 2018’s “The Poetry of Jazz,” Origin Records (82754)

  • An album of unmistakable importance – one could say of historic importance.” ~ UK Vibe Magazine, 5/5 review, April 21, 2018.
  • “The composition seems so natural…Poetry and jazz have long been great partners, but ‘The Poetry of Jazz’ offers a fresher take…one not to be missed.” ~ The Paris Review, “Editor’s Pick,” March 23, 2018.
  • “A terrific record– the best of its sort mixing poetry and jazz.” ~ NPR’s Tom Vitale.
  • “You hold in your hands jazz history. This is a CD that must be heard!” ~ Donald Brown, jazz pianist/producer.
  • “The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)—demonstrates how well carefully crafted language and improvised music complement each other.” ~ New York City Jazz Record, August 2018.
  • “And it is Boone’s wit — as well as Levine’s — that lights up “Gin,” whose bebop melody is shared by saxophone and voice. Some of the lines here make me laugh. Trying to explain the appeal of gin, which tastes so bad yet is so addictive to their elders, a youngster posits that it must be the result of self-flagellation. Levine ironically comments: “He was very well read for a kid of 14 in public schools.” Lurking in the poem’s humor — an acute sense of the tragedy of wasted lives… trumpeter Harrell has never sounded more ravishing — or more romantic… It’s wonderful that this unexpected session happened and that it worked out so well.” ~ Michael Ullman, Arts Fuse, March 13, 2018.
  • “These guest artists [Chris Potter, Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, and Tom Harrell] might be the attraction for the jazz listener, and Levine for the poetry fan, but that would miss the extraordinary music both written and performed by Boone and several excellent sidemen.” ~Mark Corroto, All About Jazz, March 20, 2018.
  • “Gorgeous record. My words couldn’t do it justice.” ~Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
  • “A fascinating mélange of music and poetry… an engaging fusion of two terrific artists…The poetry is amazingly expressive and the music ties in wonderfully.” ~ Dave Rogers (Professor Bebop), WTJU – UVA
  • “Benjamin Boone knows how to get inside the poem, Phil Levine’s inscrutable and imploding loops of poetics, his observations of the seen and unseen. Boone knows Where the thing called poetry lives, an ocelot among the waters, a sky-shaped Rain God that flares down upon us. He does this with a myriad of instruments, with human breath chiseling and burning through brass and string, reeds and skin and hands and resin. He 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.
  • “The innovative saxophonist Benjamin Boone delivers a special collaboration,” ~ Zeal NYC, March 9, 2018.
  • “Clever and Beat Generation session of the 21st Century… The modern Greenwich Village and Left Bank of jazz.” ~ Jazz Weekly, May 17, 2018
  • “A hipster top ten.” ~ Chris Spector, Midwest Record, December 29, 2018.
  • “Fantastic CD… the absolute best jazz/poetry song I’ve heard (yet) in 2018… just SUPERB work here that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of a (perfect) 5.00 – that means, of course, that it also gets my “PICK” for “best jazz/poetry album.” ~Rotcod Zzaj, Review, Improvijazzation Nation
  • The Normal School: A Literary Magazine, Word Music: A Discussion with Brian Turner and Benjamin Boone,” June 12, 2018.
  • Literary anaylis of The Poetry of Jazz, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, “A song that would tell the story of all these things together,” Winter 2018: “unpretentious, ego-less desire to communicate the relevant poetry’s feelings and moods… Boone flies on soprano sax… an elegy and homage to Philip Levine… it brings me indescribable happiness.”

Praise for 2019’s “The Poetry of Jazz – Volume Two,” Origin Records (82772)

  • “Visually resonant… lovingly produced.” ~ Bradley Bambarger, Downbeat, January 10, 2019
  • “Boone provides aching saxophone lines…Sterling arrangements… better than perfect… The music is full of life and colour, …very much die for…” ~ Raul da Gama, Jazz da Gamba, June 1, 2019.
  • “In the 26 years of running UK Vibe, and the 35 years of buying and enjoying music, these albums of yours have reached deeper than most in that time. It just feels so real.” ~ Steven Williams Heath, Founder, UK VIBE
  • “… emotionally direct, unpretentious and irascibly open-hearted …” ~ San Francisco Classical Voice, October 13, 2019.
  • “Rarely found depth, sophistication, and listenability… their efforts work beautifully… It will likely take a long time before someone does it this well again. Meanwhile, musicians could benefit from listening to this album for what it can tell them about the inner core of their music… Levine, Boone and the group show us by example a little of what we go through in our lives and its intimate connection to the creative process of jazz.” ~Victor L. Shermer, All About Jazz, January 21, 2019.
  • “A vivid snapshot of an important piece of American history wonderfully captured on record with the foresight of Boone … one is drawn in with a rare and intimate immediacy … We’d better make the most of it as there won’t be any more where this came from.” ~ UK Vibe Magazine, 5/5 review, July 25, 2019.
  • “Some of it [this CD] is just so hip it will flat domino you…remarkable…amazing stuff…” ~Dave Rogers (Professor Bebop) WTJU – UVA
  • “A singular collaboration.” ~ Jazz Times, April 25, 2019
  • “It has been a banner time for high-profile jazz-poetry collaborations. Last year saw the release of Matt Wilson’s long-planned tribute to Carl Sandburg, Nicole Mitchell’s teaming with Haki Madhubuti and Jane Ira Bloom’s musical refractions of Emily Dickinson’s terse verse, among other projects. But now there is The Poetry of Jazz, providing us with the revelatory phenomenon of the wordsmith being the heppest musical cat on the scene.”~Jazz Times feature, April 25, 2019.
  • “A stunning piece… celebrate this brilliant collaboration.” ~ Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

Praise for 2020’s “Joy,” Origin Records (82800)

  • “When you think of a Fulbright Scholar heading off to deepest darkest Africa, do you picture a white boy that understands funk? Pairing here with his pals, Ghana Jazz Collective, the two cultures collide in a jolly mash up that proves once again that music is the universal language and how easy it is to resolve any conflict if you really want to. Upbeat, badass stuff that’s a gasser throughout, it’s too bad more white boys can’t have this much fun—even without having to go to Ghana. This is creative music that will stand the test of time.” ~Chris Spector, Midwest Record
  • “On the two volumes of The Poetry of Jazz… [Boone] demonstrated his ability to fluently interact with and reply to a spoken text. On Joy, Boone expands his penchant for conversation… [with] a West African lilt but the language is all-the-way jazz… Particularly impressive is Curtain of Light… dramatic and explicit.” ~ Hobart Taylor, Downbeat Magazine, 3.5-star review, April 2020.
  • “Wonderful merging of cultures… great title tune, “Joy”… Drummer Frank Kissi is a master of the polyrhythms that pulsate under the album’s tracks. Bassist Bright Osei gives a fresh, thumping, funky twist to Herbie Hancock’s classic, “Maiden Voyage.” Pianist Victor Dey Jr. and saxophonists Boone and Bernard Ayisa shine throughout. Vocalist Sandra Huson sings gorgeously on Boone’s tune “Without You,” but her more intriguing contribution is a frenetic vocalese on Boone’s wild composition “Slam.” ~ Ron Netsky, Rochester City Newspaper, 3/25/20.
  • Boone’s colleagues… prove to be polyglot performers equally conversant in the languages of funk, post-bop, swing and, of course, African forms… creat[ing] an amalgam that draws from those various traditions and ideals but remains fastened to none of them. The morphing opener, “The Intricacies of Alice,” makes that point better than any song on the album. Shifting gears with incredible precision while also keeping a fixed eye on melodic clarity, it gives pause to admire the handiwork of the well-oiled rhythm section. A soaring, punchy “Maiden Voyage” follows. Boone, sounding like a man possessed, brings the heat, and Ayisa and Dey, in smart contrast, play things on the somewhat sly side…”Slam,” with Huson’s wordless incantations, seems to play to ancient rites and modern-day strife all at once; “Curtain of Light” brings Ethiopian expressionism into the band’s orbit; “The 233 Jazz Bar,” nodding to the venue where these musicians connected, plays to the region’s funkier side; and the Gerry Niewoodpenned title track, with Boone gleefully riding the currents, encapsulates the titular spirit.” ~ Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz 4/5 review
  • Boone’s colleagues… prove to be polyglot performers equally conversant in the languages of funk, post-bop, swing and, of course, African forms… creat[ing] an amalgam that draws from those various traditions and ideals but remains fastened to none of them. The morphing opener, “The Intricacies of Alice,” makes that point better than any song on the album. Shifting gears with incredible precision while also keeping a fixed eye on melodic clarity, it gives pause to admire the handiwork of the well-oiled rhythm section. A soaring, punchy “Maiden Voyage” follows. Boone, sounding like a man possessed, brings the heat, and Ayisa and Dey, in smart contrast, play things on the somewhat sly side…”Slam,” with Huson’s wordless incantations, seems to play to ancient rites and modern-day strife all at once; “Curtain of Light” brings Ethiopian expressionism into the band’s orbit; “The 233 Jazz Bar,” nodding to the venue where these musicians connected, plays to the region’s funkier side; and the Gerry Niewoodpenned title track, with Boone gleefully riding the currents, encapsulates the titular spirit.” ~ Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz 4/5 review
  • “Genuine cross-cultural jazz Joy… dexterous and powerful rhythm machine… Osei is simply magnificent… room-shaking, finger-popping bass line… steeplechase of saxophone and piano solos… joyful marriage of African and American music… a massive explosion of communal jazz expression, with pianist Dey playing the part of McCoy Tynerto complement Boone’s yowling, John Coltrane-like soprano sax.” ~ All About Jazz, Chris M. Slawecki
  • Great music.” ~ Jeff Hanley, host of PRX’s syndicated shows “Jazz Happening Now” and “Jazz After Hours”
  • “Wow this album is full of power!  I love the dynamics of the songs.  I sort of feel like I’m hang-gliding through a mountain range. It’s definitely a strong happy coping mechanism during this time. Thanks for making the music!” ~ Murf Reeves, WWOZ New Orleans
  • A superb new album… an excellent new album… I like the album so much… Right up my street…one of the best releases so far this year!” (in may 2020) ~ Ruth Fisher, London’s JazzFM (largest jazz station in London)
  • “I absolutely love your music! I also truly admire the connections you make in your music…bathed in joy, exuberance and dance…this blend of musicians is a beautiful and energetic sample of the positive energy of music.” Dave Rogers (Professor Bebop) WTJU Charlottesville
  • You produce great music!” Ed Smith, Jazz Now” WOWD, Tacoma Park
  • Absolutely terrific!” ~ Russ Haines, WWSP, Stevens Point
  • “Album of the Week…Fun and vibrant… unique mesh of traditional and experimentation.” ~Konstantin Nicholas Rega, In the Clouds (UK)
  • “The CD transmits Boone’s passionate and melodious alto and soprano saxophones and the amazing technique of the Ghana musicians.” ~ Walker’s, Japanese music magazine.
  • “The joy and passion of the Ghana Jazz Collective is Infectious (if I dare use that word)” ~ Brad Stone, “The Creative Connection” and “European Jazz Union” radio shows.