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Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Rise Up

Brilliant cellist-singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson excels herself on this latest EP just released, featuring super-relevant polymath rapper Akala who seems an ideal sparring partner on the Black Lives Matter-inspired title track. On ‘Declaration Of …

Published: 9 Jan 2021. Updated: 3 months.

Brilliant cellist-singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson excels herself on this latest EP just released, featuring super-relevant polymath rapper Akala who seems an ideal sparring partner on the Black Lives Matter-inspired title track.

On ‘Declaration Of Rights’ the great UK jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss features and back in 2019 as regular readers of marlbank will recall Ayanna appeared with Cleveland on the Abyssinians 1970s classic at his Great Jamaican Songbook show in the QEH receiving some of the biggest applause of the night as he and Ayanna duetted on the Satta Massagana track.

This pristine studio version has a real edge to it, Ayanna's superb classical technique that recalls the passion of Pablo Cassals morphing via the deft offbeats knitted into the unfolding arrangement that underpins her stirring vocal line all going to herald Cleveland's imaginative contribution and ultimate intimations of Bob Marley towards the end with the 'Get up stand up' line. The riddim track completing an EP blessed with very clear audio definition throughout is also very nicely arranged. Out now via Bandcamp

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Wynton Marsalis weighs in on Black Lives Matters

''Change requires imagination, courage and dogged dedication. The momentum of folly always pushes us down the inevitable path of contention, calamity and chaos. I hope that the social and political corruption and turmoil of these times cast a light …

Published: 9 Jan 2021. Updated: 3 months.

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''Change requires imagination, courage and dogged dedication. The momentum of folly always pushes us down the inevitable path of contention, calamity and chaos. I hope that the social and political corruption and turmoil of these times cast a light on the individual investment required to maintain a libertarian democracy. May the events of these times inspire us all to engage even more deeply in the rights and responsibilities we have as citizens.''

That's the takeaway from a new article by Wynton Marsalis titled ''Sloganize, Patronize, Realize, Revolutionize'' that features the great trumpeter-composer's thoughts on Black Lives Matters (pointedly parenthesised) and recent events in the US.

Wynton is promoting his new Blue Engine album The Democracy Suite that follows on from last year's excellent The Ever Fonky Lowdown and a fun Sesame Street-themed holiday period record. The Democracy album is to be released on Friday just days before Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the US. Read Wynton's piece: here

Wynton Marsalis, top. Publicity shot