Welcome to the May 2021 issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Indiana University Archives of African American Music and Culture.
This month we’re featuring two new classical releases: British Jamaican composer Eleanor Alberga’s Wild Blue Yonder, and the chamber opera dwb (driving while black) by composer Susan Kander and librettist/soprano Roberta Gumbel. Also, Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen’s posthumous album, There Is No End, featuring rappers from across the African diaspora.
Jazz releases this month include vocalist Nnenna Freelon’s exploration of grief and healing on Time Traveler; saxophonist Vincent Herring’s Preaching to the Choir; the Noah Haidu, Buster Williams and Billly Hart trio’s Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett; drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Big Band ensemble debut on Soul Conversations; Berta Moreno & Afro-Jazz Soul Project’s Tumaini; vocalist Dee Daniels’ gospel jazz project The Promise; and Introducing Kendall Carter featuring the rising jazz organist from Kentucky.
Also featured this month is New Orleans bassist George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners laying down some heavy funk on Crying for Hope; veteran folk musician Reggie Harris’s On Solid Ground; and the late jazz violinist Billy Bang’s collaboration with Vietnamese musicians on Lucky Man. Wrapping up this issue is our list of April 2021 Black Music Releases of Note.