Barry Wallenstein

In Case You Missed It

| Web Specials Archives

One part Mose Allison cool, one part Allen Ginsberg beat, Barry Wallenstein is a veteran poet who marries words and jazz. He walks the music's city streets with a sharp ear for vernacular and an eye for strange and gritty images. Here he delivers his verse with the rhythmic verve and sensitivity of a master improviser. His accompanists respond in kind. Alto sax giant Arthur Blythe goes from lush romanticism to edgy abstraction, often at the drop of a poetic dime, while the versatile pianist John Hicks and other fine players key in to the nuances of Wallenstein's phrasing just as if he was singing his words. His stories are mainly of urban fringe dwellers -- queens, androgynes, junkies, 14-year-old girls who visit their 14-year-old boyfriends in jail. But Wallenstein doesn't ride the material for its shock value. He plays down the specifics of his street stories in favor of the universals, illuminating desire, loss, and the sad-but-beautiful follies of our lot with verse that's subtle and open. As rappers ham-handedly court jazzmen, and heavy-footed poetry slammers storm the podiums, Wallenstein suggests a genuinely poetic rebirth of cool.
-- Review by Will Hermes

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me