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Episode 15-Brandee Younger: Jazz Harp Meets Hip-Hop

Strictly Jazz Sounds

Release Date: 10/16/2023

Episode 16-Terri Lyne Carrington: Changing the Faces of Jazz show art Episode 16-Terri Lyne Carrington: Changing the Faces of Jazz

Strictly Jazz Sounds

Question: What would jazz music sound like if it had been born in a country without patriarchy; taught without bias and performed on a stage with radical inclusivity? That’s what jazz titan Terri Lyne Carrington says is the foundation behind Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Terri Lyne is the founder and artistic director of the Institute and a professor at Berklee, her alma mater. In this episode of Strictly Jazz Sounds, I spend time with Terri Lyne Carrington, getting deep into this question along with how to lift women and nonbinary individuals in this...

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Episode 15-Brandee Younger: Jazz Harp Meets Hip-Hop show art Episode 15-Brandee Younger: Jazz Harp Meets Hip-Hop

Strictly Jazz Sounds

In jazz, two legendary harp musicians come to mind. Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Now, there is a third musician whose image immediately erupts into focus. For harp artist, educator, and Grammy nominated musician Brandee Younger, both Ashby and Coltrane made a tremendous impact on her. And with her latest recording, Brand New Life, on Impulse Records, Brandee Younger embraces Ashby and her impact on the harp. I caught up with Grammy nominated harpist Brandee Younger at the Spoleto Jazz Festival in Charleston, North Carolina. This was a major opportunity for me to learn how the harp,...

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Episode 14-Roxy Coss: Students Are the Music show art Episode 14-Roxy Coss: Students Are the Music

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Episode 13-Miki Yamanaka: Living Her Dreams show art Episode 13-Miki Yamanaka: Living Her Dreams

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“”—  Music moves the soul in so many ways. It moves the spirit and inspires living beings to become one with the music. Argentinian Julieta Eugenio was just that person from a young age. She’s not entirely sure why. Her parents didn’t play an instrument though they played recordings around the house. As long as she can remember, music was in her life. Her personal interest wasn’t piqued until she saw a piano when she was about five years old. It was like magic, Julieta recalls. She was visually pinned to the piano. That’s love at first site. Music grabbed her and it...

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Bonus to Episode 11-Jon Irabagon: Always Moving Forward show art Bonus to Episode 11-Jon Irabagon: Always Moving Forward

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Episode 11-Jon Irabagon: Always Moving Forward show art Episode 11-Jon Irabagon: Always Moving Forward

Strictly Jazz Sounds

Episode 11- Jon Irabagon: Always Moving Forward Jon Irabagon is always driving ahead whenever he wants to make a statement with a new recording. With his saxophones facing forward, Jon’s bold and articulate improvisations draw on his singular drive to create a pathway for the future of jazz. He draws on the forces of the hand-chosen musicians, each becoming a lifelong ally in the music business. Jon is first-generation Filipino American, and the father of two girls. Jon is influenced more by the individualistic philosophies and accomplishments of the Chicago-based organization, the...

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Episode 9-Laura Ann Gentry: Destination? Jazz of course! show art Episode 9-Laura Ann Gentry: Destination? Jazz of course!

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Episode 8-Brian Blade: The Beat That Keeps On Coming show art Episode 8-Brian Blade: The Beat That Keeps On Coming

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In jazz, two legendary harp musicians come to mind. Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Now, there is a third musician whose image immediately erupts into focus. For harp artist, educator, and Grammy nominated musician Brandee Younger, both Ashby and Coltrane made a tremendous impact on her. And with her latest recording, Brand New Life, on Impulse Records, Brandee Younger embraces Ashby and her impact on the harp.

I caught up with Grammy nominated harpist Brandee Younger at the Spoleto Jazz Festival in Charleston, North Carolina.

This was a major opportunity for me to learn how the harp, this extraordinarily large instrument, can be used in improvisational jazz. I am unfamiliar with how to play the harp so talking with Brandee Younger was a good time to learn how she does it. And learning about her major influence, Dorothy Ashby was an extra for me.

Brandee’s latest recording, Brand New Life, finds her embracing Ashby’s compositions and styles as she crosses genres on this album. Chicago producer, drummer and bandleader Mikaya McCraven produced this album, infusing hip-hop and R&B influences in this recording. Some of the artists include Mumu Fresh (Maimouna Yousef), rapper, bassist and singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Blue Note recording artist and vibraphonist and bandleader Joel Ross.

She was nominated for a Grammy in 2022 for Best Instrumental Composition for “Beautiful is Black” from her 2021 Recording Somewhere Different becoming the first black woman to do so. That same year she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and named winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll in the category of "Rising Star" Miscellaneous Instrument. In 2023 Brandee Younger won in Jazz Journalists Association annual recognition awards in the category Rare Instrument.

Brandee's discography includes Somewhere Different (Impulse, 2021)-composition Grammy nominated; Force Majeure (International Anthem Recording Co.) 2021; Soul Awakening (Self-Released) 2019; Wax & Wane (Disk Union) 2016; Prelude (Self-released) 2011.

Brandee Younger is currently on the teaching artist faculty at New York University and The New School College of Performing Arts. She also serves as Symphonic and Jazz Harp Artist in Residence at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.

The photo of Brandee Younger is by Erin O'Brien.