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The Language of Saxophones : Selected Poems of Kamau Daáood Paperback – April 1, 2005


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The Language of Saxophones : Selected Poems of Kamau Daáood + Songs of the Unsung : The Musical and Social Journey of Horace Tapscott
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Product Details

  • Series: City Lights Pocket Poets Series (Book 57)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872864413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872864412
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.4 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,509,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jazz permeates the work of L.A. poet Daaood, who seeks to emulate the ringing voice of the saxophone to remind us of the primacy of breath, the great universal syncopation of inhale and exhale, of prana, the life force that sustains us all. Jazz is about expression and exploration, conversation and variation, continuity and connection. Jazz at its core is cosmic, and Daaood taps into its unifying vision in his powerfully percussive, prayerful, firmly rooted yet soaring, direct, and accessible poetry. In this slender but mighty retrospective volume covering four decades, he offers burning social critique, including these lines from "Dance of the Nigganese Dancer": "We are wrestling with bomb droppers / mind mutilators, planetary hoodlums, thugs with computers / . . . corporate cockroaches / military maniacs, industrial idolators." He also writes with compassion about "the children of asphalt / blinded by gray and neon," recognizes "the sacredness of strife," sings of jubilation, urges us all to become "whole notes," and celebrates, a la John Coltrane, a love supreme. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"a book so hip and full of soul even Miles Davis would have treated it with respect." – John Freeman -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 2005

Winner of the National Black Writer's Book Award for Poetry -- Urban Spectrum Newspaper, January 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Jo Smith on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Linda Jo Smith
Reviews

When I think saxophone, I think jazz and how its sound resonates through my auditory receptacles, creating awesome spiritual guidance to whatever turnpike I'm led to tour on my human journey. The stability of its raspy crescendos comforts me as I sit to write this review.
The Language of Saxophones is a historic retrospection for those who are familiar with the works of jazz, its writers, singers and performers. Those who seek to become more familiar will find it intriguing. It reminds us jazz connoisseurs of our duty to share this powerful legacy with our young loved ones to keep it alive and burning.
Reading Language of Saxophones was like a tour of a virtual musical museum flowing from one chamber to the next with Daaood as the tour guide divulging secrets of artists like Billie Holiday and Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Paul Robeson and Art Blakey, and others all in cultural context of each era. Reading these valuable tidbits, invited me to experience the jazz legacy not only as an enlightened jazz lover, but one can see our vulnerable selves in the lives of these jazz icons.
The book is divided into what I dubbed as time chambers in which the writer creates his "saxophone sojourns." Daaood's first two sections or time chambers, "Spear Rituals 1970-1979 and Liberator of the Spirit 1980-1989), were hard-core and pulsating as I found myself moaning, grunting, grinning and grimacing (as Daawood often used anal references).
My favorite time chambers were "Wounded with a Blessing/1990-1999" and "Search for the Purest Water on Earth/2000-2004" These last two sections seem to focus on Daaood's familial and personal journeys but you sense the linguistics of the saxophones in the background.
Within each chamber are poetic portraits expressing jazz in sultry, conflicting, spiritual, intoxicating, supernatural ways translating the experience into the Language of the Saxophones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I personally grew up musically in Leimert Park. The first person I met was Kamau Daaooud at The World Stage in Los Angeles,CA. After all he is one of the elders of The Village. I was taken by his robust, deep voice and the manner in which he delivers his spoken word. His voice reminds me of some of the old preachers in the black churches and how they inspired the people. I've had the pleasure and honor of performing with him through the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra. I personally own this book. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, you have to see him live. He also has an album with some of his gorgeous pieces, it's called Leimert Park. He's an inspriration to both hear and read. As a human being, he's a kind and gentle soul. It's fully conveyed in his work. If you are looking for something to open your heart and spirit, check him out. I promise, you won't regret it.
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Format: Paperback
Imagine a spoken word to the tune of a musical jazz selection. Can you hear the wail of the sax? Can you feel the tempo and rhythm as it calibrates into sensations of smooth poetry, floating off your ears? Kamau Daáood transcends reason with his version of this popular language, guiding us as he uses metaphors and melodies to describe THE LANGUAGE OF SAXOPHONES.

A powerful collection, broken into sections ranging from 1970 through 2004, Daáood takes us on a dance with him, revisiting each era, sharing his insights. Vivid images come to mind as the poems are read, reflecting on his artistic nature. Woven like an intricate web, he chronicles his anger against racism and injustices, while at the same time, allows us to witness his influence on others. Like a sensuous dance, the poems go up and down, seemingly getting better as they progress, allowing the reader to hold onto a piece of time in the process.

Poetry cannot be explained, as it is revealed within the voice of the poet. Although the poems did get better as they progressed, some of the poems featured were as if they were being modeled specifically from a musical standpoint, which might confuse some readers, especially if they don't have any musical background. A little raw around the edges, this book is definitely one that caters to the spoken word crowd. If you're not deeply embedded within this realm of the poetic culture, it might not be the book for you, but if you are, you've just stumbled across quite a gem.

Reviewed by Belinda

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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