Here’s a chance to be a patron of the arts on whatever scale you can afford. Last week Ken Berman, a San Francisco-based jazz musician (and the teacher of an excellent Bob Dylan class at Stanford) launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of an album called Sound Poetry. Born out of Berman’s friendship with the late poet Eythan Klamka (1967–2011), the project builds on Klamka’s notion that “any good musician is a sound poet.” “Convinced that the finest improvisation is essentially a lyrical art,” Berman draws “inspiration from a range of diverse sources, whether Zen practitioner Thich Nhat Hanh, W.B. Yeats, Langston Hughes, George Gershwin, Bob Dylan, and of course the jazz greats from Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Billy Strayhorn, Miles Davis to Bill Frisell – all of whose unique contributions continue to be guideposts and indicate the realm of possibility in improvisatory art.” To date, supporters of the Sound Poetry project have pledged $4,956 of the $11,150 goal, and the funding period still has 25 days to go. Contributions will help pay for everything from studio time, mixing and mastering, to creating cover art, manufacturing CDs & DVDs, publicity for the album, and a three continent tour. You can learn more about Sound Poetry from the video above and make your own contributions here. If you pledge $15 or more, you’ll get a copy of the album upon its completion.
You can also sample Ken’s earlier compositions here or visit his web site here. And if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d encourage you to check out Ken’s course Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan. It will be offered in July through Stanford Continuing Studies and it’s open to the public.