John Christopher Shillock | Invisible Jazz

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Spoken Word: Poetry Rock: Rock opera Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Invisible Jazz

by John Christopher Shillock

He's called the underground poet laureate of downtown Minneapolis. She is an internationally starring avant-garde singer/songwriter. Together they are forging words and music that meld ancient Alexandria and medieval Paris with Neo-Platonism and baseball
Genre: Spoken Word: Poetry
Release Date: 

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1. A Night Like This
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6:00 $0.99
2. Prelude
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1:47 $0.99
3. Invisible Jazz
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5:45 $0.99
4. Forever
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0:51 $0.99
5. Never
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1:45 $0.99
6. Ballade
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2:11 $0.99
7. Blois Slam Poem
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2:14 $0.99
8. Pays sauvage
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5:29 $0.99
9. Dark Night
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1:12 $0.99
10. black sun blues
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5:13 $0.99
11. Zero Hour
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1:09 $0.99
12. Thunder (from the Coptic)
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14:52 $0.99
13. Colonnade
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5:08 $0.99
14. Coda
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2:35 $0.99
15. Blue Nile
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5:22 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Christopher Shillock is called the underground poet laureate of downtown Minneapolis. He has a BA in Spanish and a MA in philosophy. During the 1980’s he was active with various Communist and Anarchist groups in the Twin Cities. In 2003 Shillock received a Verve grant from SASE and the Jerome Foundation for his poetry/video book, An Invitation to the Terrorists’ Ball.

Tabatha Predovich is an internationally starring avant-garde singer/songwriter who originally moved to London with the English group, Elysium. Her next band Radium, in Detroit, fused pop, punk and progressive sensibilities into a new paradigm, resulting in the evocative, hypnotic pieces which were their most compelling work.

His words - her songs - their collaboration, a book/cd entitled Invisible Jazz, melds ancient Alexandria, medieval Paris, Neo-Platonism and baseball in a lyrical crucible fired by love and war and the mystical vision.. It includes poems and songs in English and French, with translations from François Villon and an erotic hymn out of the Chenoboskian manuscript. Published by Musical Comedy Editions,

Drummer Vid Gullickson, Rich Patterson on guitar and Lynette Reini-Grandell on violin, Ike Russell on bass, Tom Zosel on guitar and French vocalist Erin Muir round out the ensemble.


Reviews


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Valur Gunnarsson

While Rome Burns
In the age of Dylan and Leonard Cohen, every poet secretly or openly longs to be a rock star. In Shillock’s latest offering, Invisible Jazz. the title of the first song, "A Night Like This," has echoes of Dylan. But whereas "On a Night Like This" is one of Dylan’s rare odes to Joy, in Shillock’s song there is precious little shelter from the storm. "Everyone’s been wounded by all this constant strife/ so your very best friend takes his solace with your wife/ " On "Zero Hour" however, shelter is to be found and Leonard Cohen gets a name check: "There’s shelter in your temple/ where the air is light and the light writhes in clenched glass teeth,/ and the choir’s singing a hymn by Leonard Cohen."### Some of the guitar work is reminiscent of Robby Krieger of the Doors, such as on "Pays sauvage," sung in French by Erin Muir. "Coda" starts a bit like Gainsbourg’s "Chatterton." But where Serge never gets past the double suicide of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Shillock continues on to the end of democracy, a reworking of Cohen’s 1974 "There is a War." This segues into the sets’ standout track, the haunting "Blue Nile." Chris Shillock phones in his performance, literally, as an ancient legionnaire defending the borders of the Empire by the banks of the Nile, as they now do by the Euphrates and Tigris. The song reaches its climax with the lovely chorus sung by Tabatha Predovich, closing with the line "Blue Nile/ Bring him back from the war."### Filled with characters from around the beginning of the Common Era, (which more or less coincides with the end of ancient democracy). the album is bookended with Augustus’ grabbing of power, and in between we meet the Emperor without clothes, the council in their togas with cocktails in hand, orgies and scenes from Plutarch and St. John of the Cross. The present breaks through the cracks of history with mushroom and pepperoni pizzas, its A trains and invisible jazz as we move from poetry readings to the all out rock on Black Sun Blues and Thunder. ### It is this grounding in history that makes Invisible Jazz that rare beast, an album that gives the listener a feeling of belonging to a specific era and, at its best, penetrates through to something approaching an understanding of our times .I would recommend this album to anyone. It's the state of the world address artists like Springsteen and Neil Young have been aiming at lately, but Shillock does better.-/ . . . . . . . . . ./--/ . . . . . . . . . ./--/ . . . . . . . . . ./--/ . . . . . . . . . ./- VALUR GUNNARSSON is a journalist and writer living in Reykjavík, Iceland. His first novel,Konungur Norðursins (King of the North), will be published by Forlagið on November 6th.

Colin Cross

invisible jazz
I discovered the exceptional talents of Christopher Shillock and Tabatha Predovich,both collectively and separately on myspace, and when I heard about the cd I ordered a copy straightaway. Coming complete with poetry book, the album features a mixture of short unaccompanied poems read by both Christopher and Tabatha Predovich alongside longer musical tracks on which Tabatha displays not only her instrumental skills but also a superb sultry vocal talent. The opening track is the moody, dramatic "A Night Like This" on which Christopher reads "on a night like this, there's just something in the air" etc to Tabatha's backing track. "Ballade" is a more uptempo piece sung mainly by Tabatha while "Pays savauge" is more eerie giving full reign to Tabatha's exciting vocal range. "Black Sun Blues" again has Tabatha in full flight with Christopher singing along, while at 141/2 mins the epic "Thunder- The Mind's Consummation"is the longest track by far and featuring prominent keyboards could be a Doors number. For me the stand out track is the closer "Blue Nile" which Tabatha sings to a catchy, hypnotic and haunting tune interspersed with Christopher reading as a soldier of the Empire writing home to a loved one.
Christopher has an easy relaxed reading style and is a first rate poet. Order now, you won't be disappointed.

M. Turner

Invisible Jazz - beautiful and provoking
Invisible Jazz, a combo CD and book of poems, tells of a time when "dogs have no names". The poet seems to be telling us that such times have always been with us. The book spans the CD's poetry/lyrics, and adds a few that went unrecorded. You have to work to synch up the poems in the book with the tracks on the CD, but it's worth the effort to listen to and think about what the poet is saying. One of my favorite tracks is Shillock's translation/adaptation of a poem by the medieval French rogue, Francois Villon, ending in the recursive line: "I am the poet who picks his (Villon's) bones." The CD's presentation shifts from straight poetry-reading, to rhythmic, sensitive rapping, to haunting musical balladeering with Tabatha Predovich beautifully doing most of the singing. Chris and Tabatha get together in a compelling, driving way in some of the rhythmic numbers. And Erin Muir does a great job singing a poem Shillock composed in French. By far the longest number is a translation of a poem from the Coptic Nag Hammadi library, arguably the most important archeological find of ancient documents made in modern times. The delivery on the CD jumps around in this ancient poem, mirroring the way the overall CD jumps around in its companion book. Shillock knows what he's doing, punctuating these jumps with the drumbeat refrain "For I am peace and I am War. I am the holy one and the Whore. I am the utterance of my name..." Modern gnostics will appreciate this CD, and those who don't know what a gnostic is will realize that there are ancient names for the themes that move us today. Chris Shillock is a renaissance man, and Invisible Jazz is a treasure

vickijoan keck

hard hitting, and danceable too!
I have long been a fan of Chris Shillocks poetry and his booming baritone delivery. Combined with music and vocals by Tabitha, Erin and the Gang, this CD is to die for. The songs are at times introspective, political and sexual, and always rock my world. Thanks for a terrific CD! vjk