“Paul Neufeld brings a refreshing tone to Walk Together...Neufeld and crew keep the proceedings
delightfully understated, pushing and prodding at the tunes but never losing focus.”The Paul
Neufeld Spirituals Project is based on his arrangements of
19th Century African-American Spirituals for jazz ensemble.
The first CD of this material, Walk Together, came out on True North Records in
October 2003, and features Paulís quartet of piano, Rob
Clutton on double bass, Paul Brundtland on congas, and
Nicholas Hockin on shakers and bells.
Matt Galloway, NOW Magazine
“Pianist Neufeld has picked sumputous fruit for his ongoing Spirituals Project, in which he looks
into the work of 19th-century black composers. Neufeld, more familiar as NOJO co-founder and tuba-toting
leader of the Rhythm & Truth Brass Band, does a great job of casting these melodies in a jazz vein.”
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star
Paul has been gathering these folk themes for ten years, from sources such as old books, and recordings
of Paul Robeson, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Staple Singers, and others. He takes the melodic lines
and harmonizes them in new ways, adding instrumental colours that take the music in a different
direction while staying true to the deeper meaning of the music.
One of the first jazz recordings that
Paul was influenced by was a recording made in 1977 by
saxophonist Archie Shepp and pianist Horace Parlan, Goiní
Home, that was a program
of Spirituals. This was his first exposure to the music, and
it lead him deeper into the path already begun in jazz, and on
a search for the original Spirituals that inspired that
Taking inspiration from all sides of the folk music Spirituals, Paul explores both the soul inspiring faith
expressed and the striving for freedom. These themes are true for all people at all times - the need to
live free, and the need to search for meaning, ring strongly in our consciences and it is with this in
mind that Paul continues to explore this music.