Simone Weil was a Jew obsessed with Christian and Buddhist worldviews, a mystic who claimed to have visions of a realm beyond reality, and a reclusive philosopher who starved herself to death in 1941.
With music by Darrell Katz and text by Paula Tatarunis,The Death of Simone Weil deals with wild imagination, German occupation, desire, fishing, and the Pope. Weil's story unfolds like a surreal jazz improvisation that seamlessly mixes modern composition and the entire jazz legacy into a mature and personal style.
The alto voice of Rebecca Shrimpton effortlessly captures the subtle shadings of the starkly beautiful text. Boston's powerfully virtuosic Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra accompanies with fistfuls of fire.
The Death of Simone Weil stands out in the jazz vocal tradition in terms of both scale and ambition, and whose depth and economy of expression are worthy of the subject. All in all, it's an exciting soire with the far-out, the insane, and the beautifully strange.
When The Jazz Composers Alliance was founded in 1985, its agenda included the establishment of an active public forum for the presentation of new jazz works, the creation of the JCA Orchestra, and a concert series that included a visiting composers program. Since then, the JCA initiated the Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, an annual competition promoting the most interesting and progressive work by jazz composers around the world, created two other ensembles, the JCA Sax Quartet and JCA Winds, and released 6 CD's. With some of New England's finest improvising musicians in its ranks, the JCA Orchestra has premiered over 120 new pieces by its resident composers along with commissioned works by Muhal Richard Abrams, Marty Ehrlich and Wayne Horvitz; JCA performances have featured collaborations with major jazz recording artists such as Tim Berne, Steve Lacy, Henry Threadgill, Sam Rivers, Anthony Davis, Bob Moses, Dave Holland, Julius Hemphill, Ricky Ford, Michael Gibbs, Fred Ho, Maria Schneider, and Dave Fiuczysnki; Hemphill and Rivers can be heard on earlier JCA Orchestra albums.
Band members over the years have included John Medeski, Jim Black, Chris Speed, Billy Kilson and many others.