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På skive


«Purple Tentacles of Thought and Desire»

The Cosmic Diaspora Trio is the project of Berkeley-based, poet-performer-eductor Jake Marmer (who still considers himself a New Yorker), titled after his third poetry book. Marmer was born in a provincial Ukrainian city that was renamed four times in the past 100 years, immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old, studied in Israel, and released his first klezmer-jazz-poetry album, Hermeneutic Stomp seven years ago, featuring The Klezmatics’ Greg Wall and Frank London, together with Israeli, New York-based guitarist Eyal Maoz.

«Purple Tentacles of Thought and Desire» takes a few steps further Marmer’s eclectic and ironic mix of experimental beat poetry that owes much to Amiri Baraka and Allen Ginsberg, klezmer music with a close kinship to John Zorn’s Masada songbook and free-jazz, inspired by the sci-fi cosmology of Sun Ra school («every space journey is another Babelionia exile») and the writings of Samuel Delaney. This time Marmer is accompanied by guitarist John Schott, known from the Junk Genius band and the tribute band to Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, T.J. Kirk, and keyboards player Joshua Horowitz, who played in Frank London’s Klezmer Orchestra and plays in the bay-area, East-European-tinged Veretskli Pass trio.

Marmer’s’ poetry still borrows images from Jewish Talmudic and mystical Zohar texts, but also references his exilic and immigrant experiences and promises to decipher some secrets about mythical beings «whose names start with other letters of cosmo-fangled-alphabet». Like a good Jew Marmer’s world is anchored by guilt, panic («no panic, no transcendence»), and an insatiable appetite to learn and accumulate knowledge. But it is his sharp sense of humor, wild imagination, provocative associations, and a natural gift of storytelling that charge this heady mix with surprising, arresting dramas.

Schott and Horowitz are always attuned to Marmer’s fluid, rhythmical delivery of his spoken word poetry. Both frame Marmer’s passionate delivery in loose but always unorthodox funky, jazz, and sometimes klezmer and East-European grooves. This Cosmic Diaspora Trio offers few outstanding gems like «Taxi Dybbuk», «Please Don’t Panic at the Disco» and «Warp Soliloquy».

Eyal Haruveni

Jake Marmer (spoken word, poetry), John Schott (g), Joshua Horowitz (keys, acc, cimbalom), Cookie Siegelstein (vio), Stu Brotman (ocarina)

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