Friday, December 5, 2008

Word Jazz

Word Jazz is an art form that combines beat style poetry and free form jazz or electronic music. Word Jazz was created by the popular TV and radio voice over artist, Ken Nordine. Ken Nordine's name may be obscure but his voice is unmistakable. Nordine's voice has been in thousands of TV and radio spots since the 1950s.

The classic album, Sounds In Space, is narrated by Ken Nordine

Nordine's prose is surreal and often employs multiple characters. In his early work He is backed up by small jazz ensembles such as the Fred Katz group. Later on he is often backed up by electronic music or live improvisational musicians.

Upper Limbo is a live performance in which Ken recites over improvisational music, the album features harmonica great Howard Levy.

My first exposure to Ken Nordine and Word Jazz was The Devout Catalyst which was released on the Grateful Dead's record label. This is a very bizarre album in which Nordine collaborates with Jerry Garcia on acoustic guitar and David Grisman on mandolin.

If you don't know the name Ken Nordine take a listen and I think you might recognize the voice.


The Nervous system

The Essence of S

Check out Ken's website at

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