Composer Jerome Kitzke Unveils First All-Kitzke Album in 15 Years Today
American composer/storyteller JEROME KITZKE celebrates today's release of his new album The Paha Sapa Give-Back (Innova Records). Known for creating works that are uniquely and bracingly American, where freedom and ritual converge, Kitzke shares his career-long dedication to social justice in a new recording featuring some of his best work composed over the past 15 years. The composer's convictions are remarkably interwoven within the music and text of three intensely theatrical pieces that collectively take listeners on a piercing journey brimming with ceremonial power and beauty.
Kitzke's ongoing concern with the American landscape and how we live in it manifests in full flower on The Paha Sapa Give-Back, which speaks to a quest for friendship, a call for justice, and a protestation of war. It brings stinging, tender and humorous language to life. "I have always believed in the non-static quality of history and in the healing powers of love and friendship," says Kitzke. "The pieces on this record manifest these beliefs in one way or another."
Influenced by the spirit of Plains Indian song, driving jazz, Beat Generation poetry, and contemporary classical music, this disc showcases Kitzke's inimitable musical language of vocalizing instrumentalists, theatrical speaking, extended techniques, and hard driving drumming, all notated in beautiful hand-drawn scores. The album begins with The Green Automobile, a free-wheeling musical account of Allen Ginsberg's 1953 poem of the same name. A story about friendship and love, it describes an imagined cross-country trip taken in a green car from California to New York City. Performed by Kitzke, it's the third of his five pieces for amplified speaking pianist. The Green Automobile is a tour de force comprised of whistling, laughing, and rapid-fire recitation combined with intricate piano playing.
On the title track, Kitzke's band, The Mad Coyote, gives a pounding musical sermon to give the "Paha Sapa" (trans. Black Hills) back to the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, thus honoring the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty. Scored for four percussion and piano, this piece combines the hard percussiveness of the piano and the echoes of military snare drums and northern plains drum circles with the hauntingly shouted, whispered, and prayed incantations of "Paha Sapa."