Released August 23, 2019.
In the two years since Jazzmeia Horn bowed with her first album, the GRAMMY Award®-nominated A Social Call, she’s been busy on the road, honing her vocal skills to a finely tuned level, writing songs of personal relevance and social message, and perfecting a fearless approach to improvisation and performance in general. The convergence of this drive and development has resulted in what is sure to be hailed as one of the most courageous recordings of 2019—Love and Liberation—filled with songs of daring musicality, emotional power, and messages of immediate relevancy.
Horn chose the title she did for her second album because, “Love and Liberation is a concept and mantra that I use consistently in my everyday life. For me the two go hand in hand and they both describe where I am in my life and career right now. An act of love is an act of liberation, and choosing to liberate—oneself or another—is an act of love.”
Love and Liberation, marks a formidable leap forward for Horn as a singer, bandleader and songwriter, the result of an almost non-stop touring schedule that followed the release of her debut album and which benefitted her vocal chops as well as her band sound. “I have evolved,” she says. “It’s like I’m really understanding music in a different way.”
“Honestly, I’m way more excited now about Love and Liberation because this is mostly my original music,” says Horn with palpable giddiness. “Don’t get me wrong, I love A Social Call and all the acclamations were great—the reviews in Downbeat, The New York Times and London Times. But now I’m like, You guys don’t really know what’s coming. Boy, do I have something in store for you!”
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar:
Jazzmeia Horn is a supremely gifted jazz singer with a bright, resonant voice that she applies ably to soulful standards and vocalese numbers alike. It's a style that helped her win the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition, and which earned her a Grammy nomination for her 2017 debut, A Social Call. It's also a style that she further showcases to fine effect on her earthy sophomore album, 2019's Love & Liberation.
Once again joining her are longtime associates pianist Victor Gould, bassist Ben Williams, drummer/vocalist Jamison Ross, saxophonist Stacy Dillard, and trumpeter Josh Evans. All of these musicians are virtuosos in their own right, and bring a richly ebullient improvisational energy to Horn's album. Opening with the buoyant, Betty Carter-esque "Free Your Mind," Love & Liberation has an organic quality that brings to mind the kind of jazz albums that emerged in the 1970s when artists were accenting their hard-swinging post-bop with soul and R&B influences. Reinforcing this aesthetic are Horn's cover choices including the bluesy Hubert Laws and Jon Hendricks song "No More" as well as her sensuously atmospheric reworking of Erykah Badu's "Green Eyes."
Equally compelling is Horn's sultry duet with Ross on the George Duke and Rachelle Ferrell ballad "Reflections of My Heart." Horn also brings a distinctly empowered female perspective to Love & Liberation, drawing playfully upon her experience raising two daughters on "When I Say," and turning the male gaze on its head with the unrequited ballad "Legs and Arms." Elsewhere, Horn displays her knack for crafting highly memorable originals as on the bright swinger "Out the Window" and the equally propulsive "Searchin'," which spotlights her dynamic vocalese improvisational skills. Similarly, she dives into the cheeky blues of "Still Tryin'" and continues to prove her straight-ahead jazz chops with an urbane reading of the standard "I Thought About You."
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