Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

8

Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read The Martian's Playground Album Reviews
The Martian's Playground
By Geno Thackara
January 24, 2019
Read Ex Nihilo Album Reviews
Ex Nihilo
By Chris May
January 24, 2019
Read Path Of Totality Album Reviews
Path Of Totality
By Roger Farbey
January 24, 2019
Read Time Like This Album Reviews
Time Like This
By John Sharpe
January 24, 2019
Read Bulería Brooklyniana Album Reviews
Bulería Brooklyniana
By Dan Bilawsky
January 23, 2019
Read At The Hill Of James Magee Album Reviews
At The Hill Of James Magee
By Mark Corroto
January 23, 2019
Read Stomping Off From Greenwood Album Reviews
Stomping Off From Greenwood
By Mike Jurkovic
January 23, 2019