On the weekend of October 23, the Tomás Doncker Band will debut their new album, Big Apple Blues at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Why a poetry festival? Because this indie blues band has teamed up with legendary poet and Pulitzer Prize winner, Yusef Komunyakaa.
Komunyakaa,aside from his many prizes for his poetry collections and work in the community, is known for being one of the pioneers of a style of spoken word poetry delivery which takes on the rhythms and cadences of jazz and blues music. On the heels of his hugely successful album, Moanin’ at Midnight: The Howlin’ Wolf Project in July 2014, Tomás Doncker sought out this poetic behemoth to bring lyrical depth and imagery to the sound he calls “global soul.”
Big Apple Blues sounds like an album which was created over a much longer period than only a few months, with complex composition and diverse rhythms. The collaboraiton with Komunyakaa and the perfectly crafted vocals make the complexity of Big Apple Blues that much more surprising. Tracks like “The New Day” and “Hellfighters of Harlem” have well-crafted big blues sound with lyrics which discuss civil rights, protests, and worker strikes, as these are some of the topics close to Komunyakaa’s heart. The songs on the album are not devoid of fun and danceable rhythms, however, and the combination of social conscience and masterful blues makes for a truly interesting album.
Yusef Komunyakaa fans at the Dodge Festival will have a rare treat with the addition of the Tomás Doncker Band, as the collaboration will definitely being some life to the proceedings. Additionally Tomás Doncker Band stands to gain even further accolades with this new and novel approach to their already celebrated jazz and blues catalog. The album will be released for sale online on October 21, but is available to pre-listen streaming on their SoundCloud page.
By Layla Marino
Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science