David Greenberger and Prime Lens
My Thoughts Approximately
(2017, PelPel Records)
Don’t let the whimsy fool you. David Greenberger’s spoken-word performances of transcriptions of interviews he’s conducted with nursing home residents combined with musical accompaniment are serious acts of historical preservation disguised as art. That they work as both—as they do on Greenberger’s latest, featuring jazzy, evocative accompaniment by Prime Lens—is a tribute to Greenberger’s genius. The alternatively wacky and poignant arrangements—featuring drummer Bob Stagner, multi-instrumentalist Evan Lipson, keyboardist Tyson Rogers, plus a handful of guest artists—mirror the emotional range of the stories Greenberger’s interlocutors tell, of jobs, wartime, music, booze, books they’ve read, people they’ve known, and, in a few instances, of first-hand reportage from deep inside delirium. The sum is a mosaic of memories pieced together like shards of colorful, reflective glass. Greenberger is a national treasure, deserving of a MacArthur Fellowship and a National Heritage Fellowship. Give it up!