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, scheduled for release on August 23, 2019 via Concord Jazz, 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.”
“Once A Social Call was released in May of 2017, I hit the road and I am still on tour. The album literally came out two years ago. I’m really tired but grateful because I’ve had the opportunity to travel and practice and improvise night after night in a room full of people with some of the best musicians playing today. We’d experiment, using a trumpet player on a song one time and a saxophonist the next, or sometimes just drums and voice in the beginning of a song, trying out different combinations and ideas, challenging ourselves. This was worth more than gold to me—understanding how to utilize my instruments: my voice, my body, the band that I’ve hired.”
Horn has substantial experience with all the A-list musicians on these tracks: pianists Victor Gould (her regular accompanist) and special guest Sullivan Fortner, tenor saxophonist Stacey Dillard and trumpeter Josh Evans, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer/singer Jamison Ross. Chris Dunn, who produced Horn’s debut disc, is producer on this album as well.
Eight of the dozen new tracks are original tunes, a point of pride and significance for the 28-year old Horn: “All of these songs are about me and my experiences, but also as part of any young person’s journey. The message they all share is that you just have to learn—about people, about relationships, about business, love, or whatever. They don’t just tell one person’s story, they tell many people’s stories.”
The songs on Love and Liberation comprise an impressive variety of styles, approaches, and feel—some with full band, some just voice and one instrument, even an a capelladuet—each with a precise message to convey. There are songs that resonate with a powerful sense of African American identity, and others that speak with intention about her stature as a strong, independent woman. Still others deal with matters of love and attraction—with tenderness and humor.