Jazzmeia Horn ‘Love and Liberation’ CD (Concord Jazz) 4/5

Jazzmeia Horn follows up her Grammy-nominated debut album with her new release ‘Love and Liberation’ through Concord Jazz.

With her debut, ‘A Social Call’, only having been released in 2017, and much of the time since having been filled with an intensive touring schedule, it’s remarkable this album sees the light of day so soon. But perhaps not remarkable at all for the native of Dallas, Texas, who was the recipient of both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition as well as the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition; a fervent writer with a distinct and singular approach to her music, ‘Love and Liberation’ sees Horn taking more a hold of the reigns this time around having penned eight of the album’s tracks in and around her time on tour.

‘Free Your Mind’ acts as the perfect album opener as it’s a song that presents everything great about Horn in one offering – her vocals don’t just effortlessly soar exposing how incredibly powerful her vocal actually is, but from her interaction with the band, her joy for her craft and her performance is genuinely infectious making this a strong stand-out. Along with the four covers on this album – including tracks originally performed by Rachelle Ferrell, Jon Hendrick, Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Mercer – what seems to have generated the most interest is the bold interpretation of Erykah Badu’s ‘Green Eyes’ from ‘Mama’s Gun’ (2000) which transforms the ten minute masterpiece into one just over five minutes, again, with Horn performing such vocal marvels particularly near the latter portion of the song, you just wish you could be in the room when Badu actually hears this.

Many of the band members from ‘A Social Call’ return including pianist Victor Gould (Etienne Charles, David Gilmore), saxophonist Stacy Dillard (Brandee Younger, Theo Croker), trumpeter Josh Evans (Christian McBride, Louis Hayes), bassist and Concord recording artist Ben Williams (Pat Metheny, Andy Allo), and then there’s the introduction of Snarky Puppy drummer and another fellow Concord Jazz recording artist Jamison Ross into the fold on drums and featured guest vocals on the track ‘Only You’.

As if this surge of talent comprising one album wasn’t enough – there’s the Concord mastermind himself, Chris Dunn, returning on production who, along with having served as producer for ‘A Social Call’, can also boast having produced albums by a veritable who’s who of contemporary US jazz including Christian Scott, Gerald Clayton, Harvey Mason and Kris Bowers.

Fans of ‘A Social Call’ will be thrilled with the creative growth demonstrated throughout ‘Love and Liberation’ and we’ll watch with great interest where album #3 will take Jazzmeia Horn which we may find out in another two years’ time?

Imran Mirza

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Jazzmeia Horn ‘A Social Call’ CD (Prestige) 4/5