George Cartwright

The Memphis Years

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Cartwright is best known as the leader of the adventurous rock/jazz group Curlew. This recording is a change of pace from that sound, even if it is not a new direction for Cartwright, being the second collaboration among the saxophonist and poet Paul Haines and singer Amy Denio. Haines' words are as bizarre as ever, although five of the tracks are strictly instrumentals. Lyrics from the first track, for example, read: "She whipped her hair from her face and with her horny lips blew him a kiss half whimsy half whiskey." While the musical styles are all over the place, from avant-garde jazz to free fusion to avant-folk, Cartwright is in stellar form, and the players from Memphis are a blast, particularly pianist Chris Parker and flugelhorn player Tom Clary. One of the rare, successful meetings of poetry and song, this recording encompasses enough crossover appeal to reach a wide audience.

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