Preminger and the Sound of Protest
By John Black
Jazz Saxophonist Noah Preminger has a lot to say about the state of the world today. This Friday, he will make his opinions known by releasing his own album of protest songs, Meditations on Freedom.
“It’s my way of getting people to stop and take notice of the world around them,” Preminger said in an interview with Color Magazine. “I maybe shooting myself in the foot and misreading the idea that this is what people need to hear right now; there’s no telling how people will react before they hear the music. But it was something I needed to do.”
Whether or not he shoots himself in the foot remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that the songs he and his band recorded for the new CD hits the mark by combining covers of a few classic politically charged songs by Bob Dylan (“Only a Pawn in Their Game”), Bruce Hornsby (“The Way It Is”), Sam Cooke (“A Change Is Gonna Come”) and George Harrison (“Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth”), Preminger also has written a number of original tunes for the CD that address social issues he feels very strongly about.
“For example, I wrote a song about the struggles of the Native Americans called “Broke Treaties.” It’s unimaginable what they have been through as a people,” he explained. “So, I listened to a lot of Native American music, tried to really absorb the spirit of the music, and then sat down at the piano, with m saxophone by my side, and wrote the song.” Other original compositions are titled “The 99 Percent,” “Women’s March,” “Mother Earth,” and “We Have a Dream.”
Here are two links so you can actually hear what we are talking about:
Those expecting a story like this to offer up a few lines of lyrics to illustrate what Preminger is talking about will be disappointed: There are no lyrics for the original songs and no singer to provide vocals to those ‘classic politically charged songs.’ Meditations on Freedom is an instrumental album.
“I don’t think these songs need vocals. I want the music to create a mood for everyone who listens to it,” Preminger explained. “I’m a jazz artists, so I do what I do. I wasn’t going to suddenly put a vocalist in the band to sing a few songs. I wat the music to send out a personal message to my fans and to anybody who listens to it that these are issues that affect me.”
Along with not writing words for his song, Preminger admits he didn’t spend weeks writing and rehearsing the songs with his current quartet, with Jason Palmer (trumpet), Kim Cass (double-bass) and Ian Froman (drums) before making the album. In fact, just the idea of rehearsing made Preminger laugh.
“Music is organic,” he said at the end of his laugh. “Rehearsal is the death of music to me. So, I write the melody and then bring it into the studio, play it for the band so they know it and then we improvise. The people in the band are not only incredibly talented musicians, but we share the same basic world view and care about the same things. The emotional connection to the causes is already there in each of us, and it’s that emotional energy that I want to pass along.”
Jazz saxophonist Noah Preminger presents his sixth album – Meditations on Freedom – on Inauguration Day: January 20, 2017 (for digital release via Dry Bridge Records, with CD on Feb. 3). Not available on any streaming sites, Preminger’s recordings are exclusively offered for purchase, whether as digital download or on CD, at noahpreminger.com.