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CD Review: Never Give Up Study 

David Greenberger with Jupiter Circle

Never Give Up Study, 2011, Pelpel Recordings.

Never Give Up Study, 2011, Pelpel Recordings.

Greenwich’s David Greenberger is an artist through and through, mining a singular, particular vision based on a neglected segment of society—the aging. Since 1979, Greenberger has been the driving force behind The Duplex Planet, a small-format magazine focusing on residents of the Duplex Nursing Home in Boston. While employed as activities director at the facility, Greenberger took to asking curious questions and jotting down the answers, often with surprising, insightful, and humorous results. As noted, though, Greenberger is not simply a documentarian, he is an artist. The material he gathered in Boston, and in many cities since, feeds a rich body of collaborative multimedia work.

Whimsy is as much a tool as gravity in Greenberger’s world, and he always brings a child’s wonder to his recitations. He doesn’t treat each utterance as sage wisdom. He deeply gets that his subjects are simply humans, not seers, and sometimes they say very funny things. Never Give Up Study—one of a number of recent spoken word-with-music releases—pairs Greenberger with pianist Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius’s band, Jupiter Circle. Kasius’s jazzy compositional sense and chamber-group sensitivity allows Greenberger to float above the dense yet breathy music. It’s as though the words to “Cowboy Spirituals” land on a pillow, yet there is also an angularity that occasionally, as in “I Fell Down,” jars in just the right way. Greenberger has been making art from age for over three decades. It will be very interesting to see where his journey takes him as he steps toward his own golden years. Duplexplanet.com.

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