“Incredibly compelling music, full of gorgeous musical ideas” – Michael J. West – The Washington City Paper
“Iversen’s intelligent writing style organically balances intricate, through-composed ensemble playing and wide-open improvisation in a chamberjazz aesthetic . . . this sharp outfit is definitely one to check out.” – Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes
On March 27, Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records will release, Poetry of Earth, the newest musical creation from the heart, soul, and life of bassist/composer, Anne Mette Iversen. This double CD is a collection of art songs: eighteen English and Danish poems set to a unique combination of extended composition and jazz improvisation. The music was conceived while Iversen spent time at an artists’ residency in a thousand year old cloister on the cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi coast. The poems, from Romantic to contemporary, were all chosen as meditations on human nature, and the nature of the world around us. The Poetry of Earth musicians are world-renowned as improvisers, and have each developed a personal sound and identity that they contribute selflessly for the realization of this singular music.
The Poetry of Earth project is very close to Iversen’s heart. The songs represent the profound outcome of an artist contemplating our existence and our relationship with nature. Iversen explains, “the overall theme for the music is nature. To me it’s obvious how nature is a big component in our lives; even if we live somewhat removed from it. Maybe because I have spent
many years living in big cities and have also been able to spend extended periods of time in places where nature is especially beautiful or astonishing, and where the local lifestyle still relates to and depends on nature; the relationship between humans and nature has been emphasized and upgraded in my book. And speaking about nature I do not only mean the visible physical elements, I also think of the inner nature of our lives on earth and our existence.”
Iversen’s music is paired with text from a variety of poetry, both English, and Danish (representing Iversen’s birthplace). “I was given some poems by Danish writer Svende Grøn, and the descriptions of nature, life and human emotions immediately resonated with me in a very meaningful way. Written in a somewhat isolated part of Denmark, Thy, these poems countered the busy city life that I live in New York. So I decided to set them to music, and that became the genesis of Poetry of Earth. I then expanded the poetry search and included English poetry as well; and the poems I chose for my project were, apart from a few, from the Romantic period. Obviously a main subject during this period was nature, so I was thoughtful about picking poems that still felt relevant to our lives in the 21st century.”
With Poetry of Earth Anne Mette Iversen uses poetry and music to explore the notion that when we learn to be present and in the moment, we are open for the inspiration, and the exchange that nature offers us. To contemplate that our experiences (joy, sorrow, pain, etc), also exist in the natural world around us, enriches our existence. Iversen explains, “nature is a guide, a source of inspiration, a source of consolation, a source of pleasure; simply, a source of life that we can draw on.
Anne Mette’s two previous recordings, Milo Songs and the double-disc Best of the West/Many Places, were unanimously praised, with the DownBeat praising Iversen’s playing as being, constantly subtle and suggestive, dropping hints that seem to linger in the air . . .; The Indianapolis Star proclaimed that on Milo Songs, there’s an amazing amount of variety in this inspired extrapolation on a child’s inspiration. Interplay within the quartet is consistently alive on a high plane of delight and imaginative verve; The Rochester City Paper stated that the music is, absolutely electrifying . . . adventurous tunes with plenty of room for superb solos, and NPR commenting that, Few other arrangers can deter schmaltz when putting strings to swing. And even fewer possess her sense for dulcet harmonies and exquisitely developed form. Rarer still is the mind that could put it all together in a way that proclaims itself as the work of an improvising musician. Beauty may be hard to find in jazz, but as Iversen proves, that doesn't mean it's dormant in familiar elements, waiting to be expressed. JazzTimes Magazine stated that, Anne Mette Iversen shows a masterful reach across jazz and classical music in "Best of the West" . . . Leaving the strings behind for the second disc, Iversen's group alternates between forceful postbop themes, aching ballads and darting, slippery grooves, and Allmusic.com was equally emphatic, saying that, Both discs are a creative success, and both are enjoyable demonstrations of what Iversen has to offer as an acoustic bassist, composer, producer and arranger.