Sébastien Hélary, NextBop

Drummer, social justice advocate, and NYC jazz staple Curtis Nowosad has a monumental new album, his third has a leader, coming June 14th to the Sessionheads United label. The eponymous release, unapologetically focused on social justice, features five originals, four of which are named after notable activists of the past and present, as well as three covers: “Home is Where the Hatred Is” by Gil Scott-Heron, “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James, and “See Line Woman” by Nina Simone. Assembled on the record is a truly noteworthy line-up comprised of Duane Eubanks on trumpet, Braxton Cook on alto, Andrew Renfroe on guitar, Jonathan Thomas on keys and Luke Sellick on bass. Special guests include Corey Wallace on trombone, Matthew Whitaker on organ, vocalists Michael Mayo and Brianna Thomas, as well as keyboardist Marc Cary, who also co-produced the album.

Curtis Nowosad is a truly outstanding album, precisely crafted full of progressive grooves and soulful melodies. Drawing from the past while always looking forward to the future, this record should leave a mark on 2019, at least we hope it does. We are honored to premiere the video for the new single from the release, “The Water Protectors”, below.

In Nowosad’s own words: “‘The Water Protectors’ is dedicated to the Standing Rock Sioux and all other indigenous people in the U.S., Canada and worldwide who are fighting for their rights to exist without encroachment. Having grown up in Winnipeg, the city with the highest Indigenous population in Canada, I became very aware of the multitude of issues facing First Nations, Inuit and Métis people as a result of settler colonialism, issues that persist and in some cases even worsen to this day. This track features solos from the inimitable Michael Mayo on vocals and meteoric rising star alto saxophonist Braxton Cook, as well as guest appearances by acclaimed pianist and album co-producer Marc Cary on Fender Rhodes and 17-year-old organ prodigy Matthew Whitaker. It is my hope that this track can help more people become aware of Indigenous issues, and take the necessary steps to remedy them on both a personal and systemic level.”

Nowosad and company will be celebrating the album’s release June 19th at Nublu in NYC and will also be making appearances at the Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal Jazz Festivals this summer.

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