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Georgia Anne Muldrow Seeks Refuge On 'Orgone'

Jazz musicians today continue a time-honored tradition in using both their platform and their pen to elucidate the rampant injustices aimed at Black people in this country. Georgia Anne Muldrow is one of countless artists who furthers the charge in that ongoing fight. Born to jazz greats like vocalist Rickie Byars and the late hard-bop guitarist Ronald Muldrow, she not only honors her rich musical forebears in much of her work, but from their example, takes risks and uncovers newer possibilities not taken.

Released initially as a single on June 25 and later on the third Jyoti installment entitled Mama, You Can Bet!," Orgone" opens with a few sparse and foreboding chords that soon are repeated in tandem with a recrudescent refrain of displacement: "Maladjusted in this land / The powers just can't end the plan." By far the most bare of all the tracks heard on the album, the heft of "Orgone" grows searing and resonant with every listen.

Reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson's " River of My Fathers," with just a few short words and scant piano accompaniment, Muldrow draws out vulnerability and deep introspection, and in turn finds commonality in her own abandonment, a blatant refusal of her home country's promise. Much like earlier releases, notably 2019's Black Love & War, she stretches out both her arms, seeking refuge from an "Africa" that appears within reach — the silence is deafening.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Shannon J. Effinger
Shannon J. Effinger has been a freelance arts journalist for more than a decade. Her writing on all things jazz and music regularly appears in Pitchfork, Bandcamp, Jazziz, Jazzwise, and Downbeat. As of the fall of 2020, her arts coverage can also be found in The New York Times and The Washington Post; the latter features her Sunday arts cover story on Marshall Allen, the longtime leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra.