2019 CD release.
With The Means of Response, pianist/composer Randy Ingram’s intricate, virtuosic and powerful fourth record, the new father channels his concern over the terrifying racism, xenophobia and injustice that have come to define America today, and offers instead a message of solidarity and hope for his son. Inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s notion that “art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it,” Ingram uses the musical tools at his disposal to channel his feelings and to engage listeners, hopefully inspiring others to action.
At a composer’s residency at The MacDowell Colony following the devastating news of the 2016 election, Ingram began to find a “means of response” in his interaction with other artists, writers and musicians. He found music pouring out of him, leaving him with pieces, both finished and unfinished, that were raw and emotional. Upon learning the happy news that his wife was expecting a child a year later, Ingram began to consider what this new administration and its effect on the world might mean for his family’s future.
An opportunity to host The Musicians’ Show on Columbia University’s WKCR gave Ingram a chance to explore jazz’s rich lineage of protest music. Though the idea of “protest music” might, for some, conjure folk tunes or overtly political compositions of force and volume, Ingram leaned towards a more subtle approach when compiling his playlist; Herbie Hancock’s “The Prisoner” and Milton Nascimento’s “Fairy Tale Song” were perfect examples of artists thoughtfully utilizing their craft to generate nuanced and affecting messages.
These events led Ingram toward the realization that the music on his next recording would be protest music. He continued to compose and sculpt the pieces written at MacDowell over the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019. Ingram then brought bassist Drew Gress and drummer Jochen Rueckert to the Samurai Hotel Studio in Queens to record at the end of March with engineer Michael Perez-Cisneros.
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