May 2020 Black Music Releases of Note

Following are additional albums released during May 2020 across multiple genres—some will be reviewed in future issues of Black Grooves.  

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November 2019 Black Music Releases of Note

Following are additional albums released during November 2019 across multiple genres—some will be reviewed in future issues of Black Grooves. Continue reading

Welcome to the October 2019 Issue

Welcome to the October 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.

Our featured project this month is the new three disc compilation, Protobilly: Minstrel & Tin Pan Alley DNA of Country Music 1892-2017, produced and/or annotated by Dom Flemons, Dick Spottswood, Henry Sapoznik, and David Giovannoni.

Also highlighted are two classical recordings: Richard Thompson’s The Mask in the Mirror – A Chamber Opera and Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartets Nos. 1-3, performed by Ensemble Arcadiana.

This month’s jazz selections include Ramsey Lewis & the Urban Knights seventh album VII, the Chick Corea Trio’s Trilogy 2, and the Louisiana-based Lilli Lewis Project’s multi-genre album We Belong. Gospel releases include John P. Kee’s I Made It Out and a new compilation, Jewell Gospel Trio: Many Little Angels in the Band, featuring a 1950s gospel girl group that included a teenage Candi Staton.

Other new releases include rising Chicago blues musician Toronzo Cannon’s The Preacher, The Politician or The Pimp, spoken word artist/poet Tenesha The Wordsmith’s Peacocks & Other Savage Beasts, the Brooklyn Funk Essentials’s Stay Good, and Vaneese Thomas’s Down Yonder. Wrapping up this issue is our list of September Black Music Releases of Note.

September 2019 Black Music Releases of Note

Following are additional albums released during September 2019 across multiple genres—some will be reviewed in future issues of Black Grooves.  Continue reading

Welcome to the September 2019 Issue

Welcome to the September 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.

Our featured projects this month are Black Swans, a compilation featuring some of the rarest recordings of African American concert artists from the early 20th century, and My Mind Set Me Free: The House Guests Meet the Complete Strangers featuring early 1970s recordings by Bootsy and  Phelps “Catfish” Collins along with other members of the rhythm section that famously backed James Brown (The J.B.’s), George Clinton (Funkadelic), and Bootsy Collins (Bootsy’s Rubber Band).

Featured jazz releases include Jazzmeia Horn’s sophomore album Love and Liberation, Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony performed by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the James Carter Organ Trio’s Live From Newport Jazz, pianist Jon Batiste’s Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard, and the new Louis Armstrong compilation Live in Europe.  

Other new releases include slam poet/rapper Saul Williams’ Encrypted and Vulnerable, Raphael Saadiq’s poignant Jimmy Lee, and Battle of the Blues: Chicago vs Oakland, Twist Turner’s tribute to underappreciated blues men and women from both cities. Wrapping up this issue is our list of August Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the August 2019 Issue

Welcome to the August 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.

Our featured projects this month include The Americus Brass Band’s Tribute to James Reese Europe’s Harlem Hell Fighters’ Band on the 100th Anniversary of the Pathé Recordings in which they recreate the music performed during the 1919 recording sessions, and Florence Beatrice Price’s Symphonies No. 1 and No. 4 performed by the Fort Smith Symphony under the direction of John Jeter.

Jazz releases include bassist Avery Sharpe’s 400: An African American Musical Portrait, bassist Charnett Moffett’s Bright New Day, the New Orleans-based Soul Brass Band’s Levels, and Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble’s Where Future Unfolds. Other cross-genre projects include Chicago poet-musician Avery R. Young’s Tubman and Ranky Tanky’s exploration of Gullah heritage on their sophomore album Good Time.  Blues releases include Zac Harmon’s Mississippi BarBQ and Mary Lane’s Travelin’ Woman.

Wrapping up this issue is Missing Chapters from the Atlanta-based Cameroonian-born artist Moken, and our list of July Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the July 2019 Issue

Welcome to the July 2019 Summer Rocks issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.

This month we’re featuring albums that represent the many permutations of rock, from the Black rock power trio Hundred Watt Heart (ft. “Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots) on Turbulent Times, to the three volume 20th Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schizznits from Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, to the roots of rock and roll on the Bear Family compilation Little Junior Parker Rocks, to the desert rock of Malian artist Oumar Konate on I Love You Inna, to the rocking zydeco of Dwayne Dopsie on Bon Ton. Also included in this line-up are a slew of debut albums from up and coming bands: Made In Pieces from the UK’s six piece collective Pieces of a Man; self-titled releases from Austin’s Black Pumas and New York rock and soul group John The Martyr; the solo side project Nothing to Say from Alan Evans (Soulive); Believe from self-proclaimed punk empress Cole Williams; Samsara from the Austin band Los Coast; and Cousin From Another Planet from Aaron Whitby featuring Martha Redbone, Lisa Fischer and Tamar Kali.

Jazz releases include the Wayne Wallace Latin Rhythm Jazz Quintet’s The Rhythm of Invention and tenor-saxophonist Jordon Dixon’s On! Our classical pick of the month is pianist-composer Stewart Goodyear’s Gershwin & Goodyear and our gospel pick is Kirk Franklin’s Long Live Love.

Wrapping up this issue is the timely Putumayo compilation World Peace and our list of June 2019 Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the June 2019 Issue

Welcome to the June 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.  This month we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of African American Music Appreciation Month, originally designated Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. In our efforts to preserve and promote the legacy of Black music, we’re featuring new releases across multiple genres by artists both new and iconic.

Jazz releases include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s 50th anniversary 5-CD set, Jazz Fest, Wynton Marsalis’s Bolden: Music from the Original Soundtrack, the latest Wes Montgomery compilation Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings from Resonance Records, trumpeter Theo Croker’s Star People Nation, jazz harpist Brandee Younger’s Soul Awakening, the Marcus Shelby Orchestra’s Transitions featuring the new suite “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues,” saxophonist Elan Trotman’s Marvin Gaye tribute Dear Marvin, and Sam Newsome’s Chaos Theory: Song Cycles for Prepared Sax.

New releases from iconic artists include Mavis Staples’ We Get By, The Last Poets’ Transcending Toxic Times, and Dionne Warwick’s She’s Back. Other R&B/soul releases include Jamila Woods’ Legacy! Legacy! highlighting legendary Black artists, Rahsaan Patterson’s Heroes & Gods, and the 50th anniversary reissue of Stax Records’ Soul Explosion.

Also celebrating a 50th anniversary is the Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter’s Bringing It Back Home. Other featured releases include Winged Creatures and Other Works for Flute, Clarinet and Orchestra performed by the talented brothers Anthony McGill and Demarre McGill, young blues prodigy Christone “Kingfish” Ingram’s debut Kingfish, Keb Mo’s Americana blues album Oklahoma, and L.A. rapper Choosey’s collab with producer Exile on Black Beans. Wrapping up this issue is our list of May 2019 Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the May 2019 Issue

Welcome to the May 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture. Our featured title this month is Rhiannon Giddens’ third solo album, there is no Other, which speaks to the practice of “othering people” for economic and political gain.

New R&B/soul music releases include albums from both veterans and rising stars: the O’Jays’ first studio album in 15 years, The Last Word; Durand Jones & The Indications sophomore album American Love Call; Memphis band Southern Avenue’s sophomore album Keep On; British singer/songwriter/cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s classical-infused Road Runner; and Canadian soul star Tanika Charles’ The Gumption.

Rolling Stones’ back-up singer Bernard Fowler presents Inside Out, featuring covers of classic and lesser known Stone’s songs in a spoken word style, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra offers the tribute album Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint.

Gospel music releases include Earl Bynum’s This Song’s For You, The Tommies Reunion (aka Thompson Community Singers) self-titled album, and Live on the East Coast from Florida sacred steel group The Lee Boys.

Wrapping up this issue is our list of April 2019 Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the April 2019 Issue


Welcome to the April 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture. Our featured title this month is Marvin Gaye’s previously unreleased Tamla/Motown album, You’re the Man. This new expanded edition coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Motown label and Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday.

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month and International Guitar Month we’re featuring a wide variety of new releases: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Ancestral Recall, Branford Marsalis Quartet’s Secret Between the Shadow & the Soul, Kendrick Scott Oracle’s A Wall Becomes a Bridge, Brent Birckhead’s debut album Birckhead, the Eric Dolphy 3-disc compilation Musical Prophet, the compilation On the Corner Live! that reimagines of the music of Miles Davis, Anu “The Giant” Sun’s multi-genre solo debut Sanguine Regum, emerging jazz vocalist Quiana Lynell’s debut A Little Love, the compilation A Day in the Life: Impressions of Pepper that reimagines the Beatles’ most famous album, the urban jazz release Bob Baldwin Presents Abbey Road and the Beatles, rising Cuban star Eme Alfonso’s Afro-Cuban jazz fusion album Voy, noted 7-string guitarist Ron Jackson’s Standards and Other Songs, an expanded edition of The Lightmen Plus One’s 1972 masterpiece Energy Control Center, and Basin Street Records’ 20th anniversary celebration Live at Little Gem Saloon.

Also featured this month is Mississippi blues guitarist Leo “Bud” Welch’s posthumous release The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name, and previously unissued live tracks from blues singer and slide guitarist Johnny Shines on The Blues Came Falling Down – Live 1973.

Wrapping up this issue is our list of March 2019 Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the February 2019 Issue

Welcome to the February 2019 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture. In honor of Black History Month, we’re featuring projects that explore different perspectives of Black life through music.

Jazz-oriented releases include Wadada Leo Smith’s Rosa Parks: Pure Love, an oratorio commemorating the civil rights icon; Mark Lomax’s 400: An Afrikan Epic is a suite marking the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade; Marcus Strickland Twi-Life’s People of the Sun sonically traces the African Diaspora from the past to present; Vivian Sessoms’s Life is the first of a two-part project about the Black experience in America; Etienne Charles’ Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1 celebrates the music of his native Trinidad; and Chicago bassist Pennal “PJ” Johnson combines genres on Pickup Groove.

Classical releases include two albums from Chicago’s Cedille Records: Rachel Barton Pine’s Blues Dialogues explores 12 works by Black composers that incorporate blues idioms; and Sisters in Song is the first collaboration between world-renowned American sopranos Alyson Cambridge and Nicole Cabell.

Gospel releases include the highly anticipated box set/hardcover book Gospel According to Malaco: Celebrating 75 Years of Gospel Music, Joshua’s Troop’s new album Another Chance, and Black from Christian rapper Mr. Del. Other rap releases include Chicago poet Mykele Deville’s Maintain, and Ice Cube’s Everythangs Corrupt.

Also included is the debut album Don’t Tread On We! from the black punk rock band The 1865; The Bookends from blues-rock guitar virtuoso Eric Gales; Siltane from Haitian/Creole artist Moonlight Benjamin; and Malian singer Salif Keita’s Un Autre Blanc that elevates awareness of the persecution of Africans with albinism.

Wrapping up this issue is our list of January 2019 Black Music Releases of Note.

Welcome to the September 2018 Issue

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This month we’re featuring Product of Our Souls: The Sound and Sway of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra—the earliest mainstream recordings of an African American dance band—in an authoritative package from Archeophone Records.  In honor of Gospel Music Heritage Month, there are two new compilations from the Gospel Friend label: the two-CD Soul Don’t Worry! Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era 1953-1967, and the tribute to Ohio gospel artist and composer Prof. Harold Boggs, Lord Give Me Strength.

New jazz releases include Cécile McLorin Salvant’s forthcoming album The Window, the Snarky Puppy affiliated group Ghost-Note’s Swagism, American steel pan player Jonathan Scales’ Pillar with his group Fourchestra, jazz flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell’s Maroon Cloud, the vocal group Take 6’s Iconic, Marcus Miller’s Laid Black (with a guest appearance by Take 6), and Diana Purim & Eyedentity’s exploration of Brazilian jazz/trip hop, Many Bodies, One Mind.

Rock-oriented releases include Corey Glover’s new supergroup Ultraphonix’s debut Original Human Music, punk legend Jean Beauvoir’s Rock Masterpieces Vol. 1, and Sean Ardoin’s Kreole Rock and Soul. Portland, Oregon’s Ural Thomas & The Pain confirm it is The Right Time for old-school R&B, “Queen of the Blues” Shemekia Copeland offers America’s Child, boogie woogie pianist Errol Dixon releases the 1973 live recording Midnight Train, and Delmark Records marks the label’s 65th anniversary with Tribute.

Wrapping up this issue is the late Australian indigenous musician Gurrumul’s final release and orchestral collaboration Djarimirri: Child of the Rainbow, Ugandan flutist Samite’s music of Resilience, and our list of August 2018 Black Music Releases of Note.