Music Reviews

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Jazz Opera / N-Side

N-Side - Jazz Opera

Shalamar Records

It’s been two years since jazz poet Norman A. Woods, AKA N-Side first came to my attention via ‘Three Voices From The N-Side’. That particular set brought together tracks from three separate but at that time unreleased albums, one of which was ‘Jazz Opera’ so it’s great to see the full set finally see the light of day. ‘Jazz Opera’ is N-Side’s tribute to drummer William Richard “Smiley” Winters who worked with some of jazz music’s all time greats including Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Lester Young and John Coltrane. It features original music conducted by Winters himself and performed and recorded in 1973 by Les Oublies De Jazz Ensemble with Ed Kelly (Theresa Records) on piano. The music is interspersed with commentary by Winters taken from a previously unreleased interview. Together these elements form the basis for N-Side to deliver his unique and thought provoking poetry to great effect. ‘Vanguard Five’, ‘The Art Of Traveling Black’, ‘Voices’ and the title track are all essential listening but each track is a masterpiece in it’s own right. Although this CD is not yet widely available, do yourself a favour and track it down. (Try cdbaby).

Andy Allen, 10/07