Brandee Younger – Brand New Life

  1. You’re A Girl For One Man Only (3:59)

(Dorothy Ashby / Brandee Younger)


  1. Brand New Life (feat. Mumu Fresh) (4:32)

(Brandee Younger / Maimouna Youssef)


  1. Come Live With Me (Interlude) (2:23)

(Michael Joseph Caranda / Russ Carlyle /

Ivan J. Washabaugh)


  1. Livin‘ and Lovin‘ in My Own Way (feat. Pete Rock) (4:58)

(Dorothy Ashby / Brandee Younger)


  1. Running Game Intro (1:07)

(Dorothy Ashby / Brandee Younger)



  1. Running Game (4:39)

(Dorothy Ashby / Brandee Younger)


  1. Moving Target (4:21)

(Brandee Younger)


  1. Dust (feat. Meshell N’degeocello) (4:36)

(Dorothy Ashby)


  1. The Windmills of Your Mind (feat. 9th Wonder) (2:56)

(Michel Legrand / Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman)


  1. If It’s Magic (3:30)

(Stevie Wonder)



Brandee Younger – Harp (and vocals on track 5)

Rashaan Carter – Bass / Makaya McCraven – Drums / Joel Ross – Vibraphone / DeSean Jones – Flute / Yuri Popowycz – Strings / Mumu Fresh – Vocals (Track 2) / Pete Rock – Drum Programming (Track 2) / Linda McNease-Younger – Vocals (Track 5) / Sharon McNease-Griggs – Vocals (Track 5) / Meshell Ndegeocello – Vocals (Track 8) / Junius Paul – Bass (Track 9) / 9th Wonder – Drum Programming Additional Production


Als Brandee Younger 2021 ihr Impulse!-Debüt „Somewhere Different“ veröffentlichte, lagen Vergleiche mit den berühmten Jazz-Harfenistinnen der Sechziger und Siebziger Jahre, Alice Coltrane und Dorothy Ashby, die den flirrend schönen Klang des Instrumentes erfolgreich mit dem Groove des Jazz verbanden, auf der Hand.

Vor allem in die Fußstapfen von Dorothy Ashby, einer absoluten Ausnahmemusikerin des Jazz, tritt Brandee Younger mit ihrem Impulse!-Albumnachfolger „Brand New Life“.

Younger, die in der Vergangenheit mit Musikern wie Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Common, The Roots und Ravi Coltrane zusammengearbeitet hat, versteht „Brand New Life“ als Hommage an die legendäre Dorothy Ashby, mit Versionen einiger ihrer Kompositionen und mit überzeugenden Eigenkompositionen.


Brandee Younger’s music is imbued with a sense of purpose and respect of legacy,

creating a larger platform for the harp to reach newer and wider audiences than ever

before. The idea of Brand New Life is befitting – as it demonstrates an awareness of

what has been, but also begs the question of what is and yet could be.

As a young harpist growing up, Brandee Younger states: “I always wanted to play what I heard on the radio. I showed up to lessons regularly with CDs of what I wanted to learn and my teacher would transcribe them for me so that I was satisfied playing the popular tunes alongside my studies. Discovering Dorothy Ashby and taking a deep dive into the music she recorded commercially showed me what was possible to do on a serious level. It was mind-blowing. She was playing the music of her time while making it her own, regardless of genre. I love what Del Sheilds said in the liner notes of „Afro Harping“ – 1968: ‘Miss Ashby deserves a place in the sun, not because she is a female, but because of her ability to offer the world a sound that is a clear voice in the wilderness of bland commercialism.’ No truer words spoken right there.

Younger is quite often noted for standing on the shoulders of the very woman who

ushered in the harp as a clear and distinct voice in jazz – particularly Dorothy Ashby.

Having studied her life and music intensely, this would be accurate. As an artist,

Brandee continues to bring new life to her work while simultaneously introducing a

unique voice and seamlessly integrating contemporary genres that extend the

instrument into yet a new life, breaking down barriers for future harpists to come.

The intersection of Younger’s identity through race, gender, and locale, offers her the

unique experience of accessing the instrument within the richness of Black creative

expression, culture, and community. This meaningful, contextual distinction is beautifully evident in Younger’s music across every album and performance. Like her

predecessors, Younger is a reflection of and commitment to the continuum of Black


Some of the earliest music of Dorothy Ashby’s came at a time of much social change, and hard-fought progress for racial equity and justice with her never shying away from that in her art. While we have seen much advancement since then, we find ourselves faced with the lasting impact of injustice. Younger points out: “Dorothy Ashby used theater to not only collaborate with black creatives, but also to depict life within black communities. Select tracks on this record are compositions of Ashby’s that she wrote for plays that she & her husband produced with their touring company, „The Ashby Players“. These plays and her original works reflected the times that they were in; controversial topics like abortion, contraception and welfare and life in the ghetto. This, all at the height of a civil rights movement. She used her art to reflect and illuminate the history she was living through.”

As Nina Simone so famously put it, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Brandee Younger does just that, as that clarity in reflection has been and still is intergenerational. Brandee Younger represents a generation of contemporary improvisational musicians who came of age in an era when hip hop commanded a strong presence in American popular culture and emerged as leaders of a new school. With that, she brings progressive explorations of harmony, rhythm, and melody infused with styles from hip hop, rock and pop music of the time. Younger, being born and raised in the same locale that hip hop also was, gives an example of that particular interconnectedness which is ever present in a specific aspect of her artistic journey. She notes, “The intro of ‘For Pete’s Sake’ by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth is the rhythm and bass of ‘Come Live With Me,’ which is probably one of Ashby’s most sampled recordings. Then ‘Fakin Jax’ (InI ft. Pete Rock) sent me! At first, I had no idea I was listening to ‘Cuz I Need It’. These were probably – unknowingly – my introduction to Dorothy Ashby.” Unlike the title of Pete Rock’s album, neither Ashby nor Younger had the benefit of being the Center of Attention. Nonetheless, Ashby’s artistry – in this case, via samples – became a part of Younger’s organic soundscape and demonstrates how forward reaching and ever-present the influence of Ashby’s artistry was and has been to date. But like every form of Black music before, Younger’s musicianship and work represents an intergenerational continuum of expression, culture, and lived experience.

Brandee herself notes, “This [record] has been a dream of mine for quite some time.

Approaching this brand new music without any preconceived ideas of how it would

sound was truly invigorating for me. We recorded this in Chicago – just as Ashby’s

Cadet recordings were, and I admired her working relationship with Richard Evans on those Cadet records. The trust that she put in him helped them to develop and create such an iconic sound. I had never heard a harp so funky in my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with my dear friend and colleague, Makaya McCraven in this capacity. The level of comfort that comes along with working with people you’ve known for years and trust wholeheartedly truly brings about an honesty and sincerity in the music that is created.

Younger honors the work of Ashby’s compositions and ingeniously resurfaces ones that have never been recorded. Yet, she continues to perpetually create a new life, a new lane, and a new place for the harp in contemporary music and culture, utilizing the language and lens of her generation and the brilliance of her personal artistic voice. It is from this place Brandee Younger, like those who come before her, powerfully stands on the vanguard. In Brand New Life, Younger calls us in, she invites us to listen, and then listen again, and listen anew.


PR Radio

Universal Music Jazz (Deutsche Grammophon GmbH)

Stralauer Allee 1, 10245 Berlin

Impulse! Records / Universal Music

CD 00602455121165 / LP 00602455076878

VÖ: 07.04.2022

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