8

Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives
Poetry and jazz. Jazz and poetry have a long history together. From Langston Hughes to Kenneth Patchen, the spoken word messages of the poets have fit hand-in-glove with African-American music. In 1957 Charles Mingus recorded "Scenes In The City," documenting the hardscrabble life of an urban jazz disciple. Then came Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, and later, rap music. We're talking pre-hip hop, what Chuck D of Public Enemy called "the CNN for black people." The combination not only entertained, but uplifted and educated.

Such is the objective of Nicole Mitchell's latest project, a collaboration with poet Haki Madhubuti. His Liberation Narratives: New And Collected Poems 1966-2009 is the catalyst for this live recording made just days after the election of Mr. Trump. Not since Kip Hanrahan's Conjure Music For The Texts Of Ishmael Reed (American Clavé, 1984) has an investigation of an African-American poet been this powerful. Madhubuti's poetry, which hasn't been recorded with accompaniment since the 1970s (with Geri Allen), provides an unabashed take on the state of the nation, and is a call for leadership and responsibility. He delivers his powerful spoken message, sometimes accompanied by the vocals of Ugochi, but always by Mitchell's music. Jazz is the medium, stoked by Jovia Armstrong and Tomas Fujiwara's Afrobeat rhythms. "Move Into Our Own" is an infectious muster for self-determination that awakens without being preachy. Mitchell's flute is ever present, opening "Poetry" before cello and violins introduce the poet's defense of versification. The tribute to his mentor, "Gwendolyn Brooks," is a dusty blues blown in on flute and Pharez Whitted's trumpet. Madhubuti recites over Miguel de la Cerna's piano, calling out all the variations of the word "black" that have entered into speech since the 1960s. The music/words are both a lesson and a collective memory.

Track Listing

Often Hard to Believe; Move Into Our Own; Gwendolyn Brooks; Too Many of Our Young; Blackman Unfinished; Rise Vision; Peace Starts Inside of You; We Walk the Way of the New World; Woman Black; Poetry.

Personnel

Haki R. Madhubuti: spoken word; Ugochi: vocals; Pharez Whitted: trumpet; Nicole Mitchell: flute; Renee Baker: violin; Zara Zaharieva: violin; Tomeka Reid: cello; Miguel de la Cerna: piano; Harrison Bankhead: contrabass; Jovia Armstrong: percussion; Tomas Fujiwara: drumset.

Album information

Title: Liberation Narratives | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Third World Press

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian
Read Unnavigable Tributaries
Unnavigable Tributaries
Vicente / Brice / Sanders
Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu
Read Golden Daffodil
Golden Daffodil
Leslie Beukelman
Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.