Title: My People Artist: Cha Wa Label: Single Lock Formats: CD, LP, Digital Release Date: April 2, 2021
Since the late 19th century, Mardi Gras Indians have
paraded the streets of New Orleans outside of the gaze of tourists that flock
to Bourbon Street. The Mardi Gras Indian community is a group of primarily
Black New Orleanians who pay respect to Native Americans through their wardrobe,
music, and dialect. The tradition of Mardi Gras Indian krewes is said to have originated
to pay tribute to the Native groups that sheltered Black New Orleanians fleeing
enslavement. Drawing on this rich heritage, Cha Wa’s
My People captures the sounds of Mardi Gras Indian street parades and
blends them with other New Orleans influences including the ‘70s era funk of
The Meters, brass band music, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and African-inspired rhythms.
Title: Na Kozonga Artist: Jupiter & Okwess Label: Everloving Formats: CD, LP, Digital Release Date: April 23, 2021
Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jupiter & Okwess makes
music that pulls together international musical influences in a stand against
global injustice. Their newest release, Na Kozonga, is an explosive and
energetic compilation of music featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band horn
section, pioneer of Brazilian rap Marcelo D2, and the vocals of American Maiya
Sykes and Chilean Ana Tijoux.
Title: Simple Syrup Artist: Sunny War Label: Org Music Format: LP, Digital Release Date: March 26, 2021
Following a captivating NPR Tiny Desk performance and
an acclaimed album in 2019, Sunny
became an artist to watch for fans of acoustic roots music. Since then, the
L.A.-based singer and guitarist has certainly kept busy, founding a Los Angeles
chapter of the nonprofit Food Not Bombs, marching for BLM protests, and
recording her newest album, Simple Syrup.
Title: Freedom Fables Artist: Nubiyan Twist Label: Strut Format: CD, LP, Digital Release date: March 12, 2021
Since their formation in 2009 at the Leeds College of
Music, Nubiyan Twist
has gone on to sell out major concerts and collaborate with iconic musicians
like Ghanaian highlife king Pat Thomas and pioneering Afrobeat drummer Tony
Allen. The London-based collective is known for their captivating and unique
blending of jazz, Afrobeat, and highlife music with electronic touches. Nubiyan
Twist’s much-anticipated third album, Freedom Fables, builds on the
group’s past success with the new feature of rising star vocalists.
Bluesman Alabama Slim of Vance, Alabama was poised for
a late-in-life breakout with a scheduled appearance at the 2020 New Orleans
Jazz & Heritage Festival. Although the event was cancelled due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, Slim is moving forward with the release of his new solo project,
The Parlor. On the album, the 82-year-old performer dives deep into the soulful
blues that he grew up listening to in the South.
Title: Right Now Artist: Willie Jones Label: The Penthouse/Empire Format: Digital Release Date: January 22, 2021
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, a 26-year-old Willie Jones
has crafted a genre-bending sound that captures his Southern roots and
incorporates the other diverse musical influences that he loves. On his debut
album, Right Now, he secures his place as a next generation country
artist, joining the small but growing roster of Black artists who are
revolutionizing the genre by deftly adding contemporary elements of hip hop and
Grammy-nominated Zydeco artist Corey Ledet pays homage to his family and musical heritage on his latest release, Corey Ledet Zydeco. This is Ledet’s 14th album since releasing his full-length debut (3 Years 2 Late) in 2004, and features the multi-talented artist performing on vocals, accordion, drums, and washboard. Ledet’s unique style is influenced by multiple genres including early jazz, be-bop, blues, and traditional Creole music, as well as by musicians of Zydeco past and present.
Fans of Bob Marley will have no shortage of Marley-related releases to choose from this holiday season. In December, UMC/Island will release The Complete Island Recordings, a new 11CD box set featuring all nine Bob Marley & The Wailers studio albums recorded for Island Records as well as two live albums (Live! and Babylon By Bus). The set spans a decade, beginning with 1973’s Catch A Fire and concluding with 1983’s Confrontation, a posthumous album released two years after Marley’s death. Additionally, on November 20, Universal is reissuing the same 11 albums and the compilation album Legend on vinyl as half-speed mastered editions. A third set of these albums, which are being pressed at the legendary Tuff Gong International headquarters in Kingston, will also be released on vinyl on December 11. The Tuff Gong set features the original Jamaica-recorded version of Catch A Fire, which is without overdubs, longer fades, and two extra tracks from the sessions.
Title: The RCA Albums 1977-1985 Artist: Evelyn “Champagne” King Label: SoulMusic Records (dist. Cherry Red) Format: 8-CD Box Set Release Date: September 24, 2020
This 8-CD release from David Nathan’s SoulMusic Records features the eight RCA albums recorded between 1977 and 1985 by the iconic Evelyn “Champagne” King. King is one of the primary purveyors of R&B and dance music that helped fuel the disco movement of the late 1970s. The RCA Albums, distributed by Cherry Red Records, is the first-of-its-kind deluxe box set including reissues of all eight albums, handpicked bonus tracks, and essays on King’s time with RCA by two renowned writers.
Con Funk Shun was one of the premier funk and soul ensembles of the ’70s and ’80s. Led by the vocals of Felton Pilate and Michael Cooper, the group produced eight Top Ten R&B hits and the No. 1 chart topping single, “Ffun,” in addition to four consecutive Gold albums. Confunkshunizeya, the first double CD career anthology of the supergroup, includes 32 tracks from Con Funk Shun’s golden years and the full 12” version of “Ffun.”
Title: This Far Artist: Sade Label: Legacy Format: 6-LP vinyl box set Release Date: September 2, 2020
This Far, the new Sade vinyl box set, offers brand new half-speed masters, courtesy of Miles Showell at Abbey Road. The first of its kind, this set includes all six of the soul singer’s acclaimed albums on pure 180-gram black vinyl. Showell worked from high resolution digital transfers of the stereo master mixes and from the original analog studio tapes, resulting in exceptionally clean and detailed audio that remains faithful to the band’s intended sound.
The first African American woman to headline the
Coachella festival, Beyoncé
received immediate acclaim from fans and critics alike following her April 2018
Homecoming performances. Her concert celebrated Historically Black
Colleges and Universities with over 100 dancers, a band, and special guest
performers including J Balvin, Jay-Z, and a nostalgic Destiny’s Child reunion
with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. This new 4-LP set includes over two
dozen songs from the live performances that thrilled over 125,000 concertgoers
on those April weekends.
Title: Weekend In London Artist: George Benson Label: Provogue/Mascot Format: CD, LP Release Date: November 13, 2020
For the first time in 30 years, 10-time Grammy winning
guitarist and vocalist George
Benson has released a live recording highlighting his favorite
hits and improvisational skills. Weekend In London, which harkens back
to his groundbreaking 1978 Weekend in LA, pays homage to many of the
guitarist’s career peaks that effortlessly fused jazz, R&B and pop.
Although Benson has played at some of the biggest venues in the world during
his acclaimed six-decade career, this newest release features his performance
at London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, an intimate 250-seat venue with
exceptional acoustics that has been hosting the world’s most influential jazz
musicians since 1959.
Title: All of This Artist: Roots And Tings Label: Truth’s Sound Formats: Digital, Limited ed. 45s Release date: August 21, 2020
Combining elements of dancehall, reggae, soul and
hip-hop in a subversive genre that they call Revolutionary Culture Music, Roots And Tings
is a new project of Lateef the Truth Speaker (Blackalicious, Lytrix, Quannum),
acclaimed DJ-producer Jah Yzer, and multi-talented musician Winstrong. Speaking
about their new project, Winstrong describes Roots and Tings as “a community of
curious souls with a generous goal to engage with each other through the
Title: Optimisme Artist: Songhoy Blues Label: Fat Possum Format: CD, LP, Digital Release Date: October 23, 2020
Hailing from Mali, the African rock band Songhoy Blues has
returned with their highly anticipated third album, a response to their
homeland’s corrupt and oppressive political system. Entitled Optimisme,
French for optimism, the album reflects the group’s desire to impact the world
around them in tangible and positive ways through their music.
Title: Star Feminine Band Artist: Star Feminine Band Label: Born Bad Format: Digital Release Date: November 13, 2020
You wouldn’t know it by
listening, but the girls of Star Feminine Band had never touched a guitar or
drumkit before meeting in 2016. Brought together by a local radio call out offering
free music training, the girls, ranging in ages from 10 through 17, use music
to channel feelings about equality and empowerment in a male-dominated society.
One of the most diverse musical collectives in the
country, Free Radicals
includes over 50 musicians that range from 4-year-old attendees of Peace Camp
Houston to 92-year-old vibraphone player Harry Sheppard. These musicians bring
together their varied backgrounds and talents on White Power Outage Volume 1,
a revolutionary album that demands an end to white supremacy in the arts,
culture, and politics.
Named the 2019 Emerging Act of the Year by Americana
Music Association, husband and wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya
Blount-Trotter are artists to watch out for as they continue to take the music
world by storm. Between their performance at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY
Awards back in January, the release of their newest album Hearts Town in
August, and their spot as an opener on John Legend’s upcoming Bigger Love
2020 Tour (rescheduled for 2021),
The War And Treaty have proven themselves to be a powerhouse R&B duo.
Title: EarthSeed Artist: Nicole Mitchell & Lisa E. Harris Label: FPE Format: CD, LP, Digital Release Date: June 26, 2020
They say that great minds think alike, and that seems
to be the case with the new collaborative album between renowned composers Nicole Mitchell
and Lisa E. Harris.
The pair met at the New Quorum Composers’ Residency in New Orleans and were
drawn together by a shared interest in celebrated author Octavia E. Butler, one
of the best known African American writers in science fiction. Together, the
two musicians took inspiration from Butler’s legacy of Afrofuturistic novels to