Brandee Younger’s Music Featured in New Beyonce Film “Homecoming”
And New Album “Soul Awakening” due out June 7th
with 2 nights at the Blue Note (May 21 & May 22)
Brandee Younger has had a busy month since announcing the release of her forthcoming album Soul Awakening. On stage, the genre-defying harpist participated in the opening of The Shed, the new cultural center at Hudson Yards, New York City as part of Soundtrack of America. Produced by Quincy Jones, the dynamic program featured the harpist in collaboration with Kelsey Lu and Moses Sumney (with whom she frequently performs with; see video for “Quarrel” here). In addition, Younger performed a solo portion that was among the evenings’ highlights.
On screen, Younger’s music was prominently featured in the new Beyoncé documentary “Homecoming”, which is currently streaming on Netflix. Hitting at around an hour and forty minutes in, Younger’s original composition “Hortense” can be heard in its entirety. The version heard in “Homecoming” comes from a 2013 set for NPR Field Recordings and features Younger alongside bassist Dezron Douglas.
On June 7th, Brandee Younger will finally unveil her long-awaited new album Soul Awakening. To support the new release, the versatile musician will be appearing at the Blue Note in New York City on May 21 and May 22nd with special guests Ravi Coltrane and Nicholas Payton, respectively.
After the album launch, Younger will take part in a number of high profile performances including:
- Central Park SummerStage with Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison and Jack DeJohnette, June 15
- Black Arts Music Festival, June 22
- North Sea Jazz Fest & Nice Jazz Fest July 12 & 17 with Makaya McCraven
- Charlie Park Festival Summer Stage, Aug 24
- Kennedy Center, September 8
More information about Brandee Younger’s upcoming album is below.
Surfacing six years after its completion in 2013, Soul Awakening was recorded in 2012 under the direction of producer and bassist Dezron Douglas, and embodies the ambition, vigor and aesthetic ideals of The Brandee Younger Quartet, at and since its inception. A benchmark recording that captures the group’s collective brilliance in its infancy, Soul Awakening is a synthesis of the people, places and moments that impacted Younger most, ahead of the album’s creation. The very first album recorded by the ensemble, Soul Awakening marks the birth of Brandee Younger’s artistic signature and the reemergence of the harp as a pillar of modern popular music.
Charged with the task of creating timeless works in a time of increasingly disposable content, Younger and Douglas, alongside drummer E.J. Strickland and saxophonists Stacy Dillard and Chelsea Baratz, enlist a who’s who of featured collaborators to best translate their ethos. In doing so, Soul Awakening becomes a full circle release for Younger that combines her band with two of her greatest mentors: saxophonists Antoine Roney and Ravi Coltrane. Other notable contributors include drummer Chris Beck, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, trumpeter Sean Jones, and vocalist Niia.
Created to convey the stirring energy of the group’s live show, Soul Awakening combines electric and acoustic sounds that showcase the quartet’s aptitude for freewheeling improvisation, spiritual jazz, and experimental music. Stand out tracks include the album opener, “Soulris”, which is penned by Dezron Douglas and is featured on his 2018 EP Black Lion, and the second track “Linda Lee”, which is named for Younger’s mother, Linda Lee McNease-Younger. Other highlights include “Respected Destroyer, a staple of The Soul Rebels’ repertoire which enlists trombonist Corey Wilcox, and the title track which includes flutist Nicole Camacho.
This collection of compositions blends seamlessly two of Younger’s popular live staples: “Games” by Dorothy Ashby and “Blue Nile” by Alice Coltrane –– both harpists and muses of Younger’s, whom she cites as profound influences. The ensemble also covers Marvin Gaye’s “Save The Children” as a tribute to Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, daughter of famed musician and family friend Jimmy Greene and wife Nelba Marquez-Greene, who was a victim in the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Soul Awakening is an evergreen compilation of songs that convey the universal relevance and urgency of the 4tet’s core ideals — from social justice to creative freedom — and belie its years on the shelf. The release of this album follows the 2014 Live At The Breeding Ground, the harpist’s 2015 appearance as a featured artist on the Supreme Sonacy album from Revive Music/Blue Note Records and the subsequent full-length album Wax & Wane, which arrived in 2016. Most recently, Younger has been actively working, recording and touring with Makaya McCraven following the release of his new recording Universal Beings. She arranged and performed a track for Impulse Records’ latest release last year: A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper – a tribute to the Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The harpist has been keeping an active touring schedule as well. She recently completed a European tour with her trio as well as a solo tour across Alabama, Washington and Utah. She performed at a number high profile festivals including the Detroit Jazz Festival, John Coltrane Jazz & Blues Festival and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival as part of the Ravi Coltrane Quartet. She has also taken part in a number of university residencies; most recently at DePaul University in Chicago, Michigan State University in East Lansing, and University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Younger has collaborated with a number of high profile artists including Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Moses Sumney. Most recently, she performed on the Tonight Show with The Roots and producer Salaam Remi. An independent artist, Brandee has self-managed throughout the entirety of her career.
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