Introducing Kendall Carter

 

Title: Introducing Kendall Carter
Artist: Kendall Carter
Label: Lladnek Music
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: March 30, 2021

 

Kendall Carter is making a name for himself throughout the Midwest as a jazz organist, recognized for his mastery of the Hammond B3 as well as the SK-2 and A100 models. A recent graduate of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Carter earned a master’s degree in jazz composition and arranging, which he puts to good use on his solo debut release, Introducing Kendall Carter. Accompanying him on this trio project is guitarist Dave Stryker and Indianapolis drummer Kenny Phelps, two musicians who have performed with the organist at local clubs and jazz festivals.

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George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners – Crying for Hope

 

Title: Crying for Hope
Artist: George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners
Label: Controlled Substance Sounds Labs/Color Red.
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: March 26, 2021

 

Bassist George Porter Jr. is best known as one of the founding members of The Meters, the seminal funk band that combined New Orleans street rhythms with a second line vibe and fatback drums to create their own unique, laidback style. After several decades performing with The Meters (later renamed The Funky Meters) and working as a session musician, Porter decided to form his own band in 1990.  Now, 30 years later, George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners offer their latest release, Crying for Hope, that lays down 12 tracks of heavy funk amidst themes of social justice.

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Reggie Harris – On Solid Ground

 

Title: On Solid Ground
Artist: Reggie Harris
Label: Dist. CD Baby
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: April 16, 2021

 

Veteran folk musician Reggie Harris reflects on the current political and social climate in his new release, On Solid Ground. A descendant of a Confederate general and one of his slaves, Harris says his story also “includes aspects of my journey as a Black male growing up in Philadelphia during the ‘50s and ‘60s; pushed into integrating schools and neighborhoods which forced me to learn to live between two worlds using music as a foil to become a bridge-builder.”   He draws upon these experiences across the album’s 13 tracks, many of which harken back to the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Movement.  

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Billy Bang – Lucky Man

 

Title: Lucky Man
Artist: Billy Bang
Label: BBE Music
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release Date: May 14, 2021

 

Forty years after the end of the Vietnam War, jazz violinist and Vietnam veteran Billy Bang bravely returned to the country in 2008 to find some closure for his still lingering trauma. This time armed with a violin instead of a rifle, Bang was followed by documentary filmmakers as he embarked on a deeply personal and musical journey that led him to collaborate with musicians throughout the country. The resultant film and album, Lucky Man, marks the third in a trilogy of works by Bang that confronted his past and explored the musical traditions of Vietnam.

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Welcome to the April 2021 Issue

Welcome to the April 2021 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, we’re highlighting new releases from a wide variety of artists. Included in our selection is the late pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali’s previously unreleased 1965 session Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album;  Chicago trumpet player Marques Carroll’s The Ancestors’ Call; New Orleans-born pianist Jon Batiste’s multi-genre, multi-generational We Are; Kansas City-born saxophonist Logan Richardson’s AfroFuturism; jazz-soul organist Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Breathe; Chicago visionary Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble’s NOW; and guitarist Dan Wilson’s Vessels of Wood and Earth.

Other selections include African American folk musician Rhiannon Giddens’ They’re Calling Me Home; vocal legend Merry Clayton’s return to her gospel roots on Beautiful Scars; classical avant-punk duo String Noise’s Alien Stories featuring newly commissioned works from five young Black composers; New Orleans’ group Cha Wa’s tribute to Mardi Gras Indians on My People; and Democratic Republic of Congo group Jupiter & Okwess’s Na Kozonga featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band horn section.

Wrapping up this issue is our list of March 2021 Black Music Releases of Note.

Hasaan Ibn Ali – Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album

 

Title: Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album
Artist: Hasaan Ibn Ali
Label: Omnivore
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: April 23, 2021

 

If Bud Powell defined bebop piano, then Hasaan Ibn Ali belongs to a group of pianists, including Thelonious Monk, Elmo Hope, and Herbie Nichols, who devoted themselves to extending the style into new territories. Or at least he should be in that group, and quite possibly would be if Atlantic Records had released this 1965 session as a follow-up to the Max Roach Trio’s Featuring the Legendary Hasaan LP. It’s a shame bordering on tragedy that Hasaan’s second and final commercial recording did not see the light of day until now. Had it been released at the time, it would have fit perfectly alongside the work of the many bop-rooted musicians who were exploring new paths in composition and improvisation during this exciting period of music.

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Marques Carroll – The Ancestors’ Call

 

Title: The Ancestors’ Call
Artist: Marques Carroll
Label: JMarq
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: April 16, 2021

 

Within the musical canon of the genre traditionally known as “jazz,” Chicago’s legacy as birthplace or training ground for some of the genre’s most innovative and technically adept trumpeters is solidified by musicians such as Ray Nance, Louis Armstrong, Lester Bowie, Marquis Hill, and Corey Wilkes. With his stellar debut quintet album, The Ancestors’ Call, Chicago-based trumpeter and composer, Marques Carroll, rightly adds his name to this list.

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Jon Batiste – We Are

 

Title: We Are
Artist: Jon Batiste
Label: Verve
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: March 19, 2021  

 

Fresh off of winning a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Awards for his score to the animated film Soul, pianist/composer Jon Batiste has released a new album with similar sensibilities. We Are is a masterful synthesis of musical styles, most notably those reflecting Batiste’s upbringing in New Orleans amidst a family dynasty of notable jazz, blues, and R&B musicians. Add to this mix Batiste’s classical training at Juilliard and his roots in the church, and you get a musician who is fluent in every major musical genre, all of which are seamlessly integrated in this album.

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Logan Richardson – AfroFuturism

 

Title: AfroFuturism
Artist: Logan Richardson
Label: Whirlwind
Formats: CD, LP, Digital
Release date: March 12, 2021

 

Kansas City-born saxophonist Logan Richardson made his debut as a bandleader in 2007 with Cerebral Flow, an album that reflects his time performing with jazz musicians such as Pat Metheny, Joe Chambers, Billy Hart, Butch Morris, Stefon Harris and Jason Moran. Since then, Richardson’s work has become increasingly eclectic, ranging from performances with the urban jazz supergroup NEXT Collective to his 2018 release Blues People, which busted through any boundaries limiting what jazz fusion could aspire to. Now back in Kansas City and sheltering from the pandemic in an apartment once inhabited by Charlie Parker, Richardson imagines an even broader universe of sound on his latest project, AfroFuturism.

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