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Just a year after releasing his critically acclaimed debut as a leader, The Words Project, Sam Sadigursky has gone on to create a second album of original poem and text settings entitled Words Project II for New Amsterdam Records. A significant departure in mood from his previous work, which was named one of the top ten albums of 2007 in Time Out New York, Sadigursky changes tone by setting a number of unlikely, often ribald texts, including three of Andrew Boyd’s darkly comic and philosophic “Daily Afflictions,” and an edgy and sardonic musical setting of Caitlin Upton’s infamous moment in the 2006 Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant, viewed by over thirty million on YouTube.
The album features some of the New York’s most distinctive up-and-coming vocalists, including Monika Heidemann, Wendy Gilles, and Becca Stevens. Noted Iraqi exile poet Dunya Mikhail, who in 2001 was awarded the Human Rights Award for Freedom in Writing by the U.N., makes a special appearance in a dramatic spoken word setting of her poem, “The War Works Hard.” Also featured are settings of poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Langston Hughes, Sadi Ranson-Polizzatti, David Ignatow, and Audre Lorde.
Sadigursky’s varied approach to composition, for which he has received an ASCAP Emerging Jazz Composer award and recent grants by the Jerome Foundation and Puffin Foundation, highlights the distinct talents of the musicians on the CD, including pianist Pete Rende, guitarist Nate Radley, bassist Eivind Opsvik, and drummer Bill Campbell, as well as several guest musicians. Intricately detailed compositions are contrasted with open-ended and textural sketches, seamlessly giving way to rich improvisations inspired by the words Sadigursky uses for his settings. Rather than simply putting music underneath text, as typically done in the genre, Sadigursky fashions actual song from the lyric, creating original forms that continuously surprise the listener, part of the reason his music has been embraced by as many people in the classical world as in the jazz world.