Cole Porter De-Constructed
Somewhere between abandon, bliss and oblivion' Deconstructing the daunting genius of Cole Porter is no mean feat. Michael Bowe pulls it off. Bowe has the guts, the grooves, the chops, the sound and sensibility to take Porter apart and put him back together again. The result is joyful re-creation. In striking a sweet balance of grit and grace, Bowe's debut release gives Porter new life. Cole Porter De-Constructed is a bold statement about jazz's ability to widen the structural range of our most beloved standards. Porter's standards are rife with irony. His storytelling is rooted in passionate obsession: 'Night and Day,' 'All of You,' 'I Get a Kick Out of You.' His witty pursuits of love and lust are illuminated by melodies that have haunted generations. Those melodies haunt Bowe's heart, even as he reinvents the rhythmic and harmonic contexts in which Porter's romantic tales are told. 'I see these tunes as the jewels of the American Songbook,' says Bowe. 'The melodies are beautiful, complex and still packed with emotion. By stripping away the original chord progression and reharmonizing the tunes using the melody as the guide, we discover ways to modernize Porter without losing his dazzling sophistication. These songs are cherished classics, and my hope was to deepen their essential brilliance. In doing so, I had the support of three tremendous musicians-pianist Philip Small, bassist Lou Shoch and drummer Steven Brooks. 'I think of myself as a straight-ahead player, my musical points of reference hark back to the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. Starting with Lester Young and Charlie Parker as the Yin and Yang of Jazz Saxophone, beyond these giants there's Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray, Harold Land, Art Pepper, Hank Mobley-the architects whose vision set the stage. That's the stage where I'm most comfortable and inspired, but I'm still growing..... 'I love to play jazz. It's an art form that requires alot of passion. The passion for improvising is inextricably bound to the passion for risk-taking. Improvising is walking the high wire. Somewhere between abandon, bliss and oblivion, that's where the music comes from.' In Michael Bowe's case, the music comes from the heart, a heart great enough to express, even as he de-constructs, the timeless genius of Cole Porter. --David Ritz David Ritz has written the life stories of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and the Neville Brothers. His lyrics include 'Sexual Healing.'