JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of “Speak” by Jana Herzen. The song is second in the running order on the singer/songwriter/guitarist’s new album Nothing but Love, which will be released by Motéma Records (the label Herzen founded in 2003 and still runs today) on January 17.
Besides Herzen on guitar and vocals, “Speak” features Charnett Moffett on fretless electric bass guitar, Brian Jackson on piano, Scott Tixier on violin, and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums. Herzen wrote, arranged, and produced the track; Moffett was the co-producer.
Herzen comments: “‘Speak’ was written for all the people in the world who have experienced horrible emotional losses, or pain from abusive relationships, and have sucked up and hidden their feelings out of shame or fear. When one never has a chance to speak freely about a traumatic experience, the pain can fester indefinitely. And yet, it’s really quite miraculous how pain can transform into joy when we are able to release and truthfully share a difficult experience with just one person who truly cares. This type of listening may be the most active form of love and for sure, deep, compassionate listening is an art form that is as important to life as it is to music.
“Speaking of music, this track is quite representative of my album, which traverses multiple genres. On ‘Speak,’ the lyrics are folk/pop in content, the 6/8 groove is African in origin, and the improvisational interplay among the musicians is more jazz than anything else. Having a chance to work with this stellar group of jazz artists on this pop/folk/jazz/world record was a special blessing, as each musician gave themselves to the music with such brilliance and openness and generosity of spirit. I’m both grateful for and humbled by the beautiful contributions of Charnett, Brian, Mark, and Scott. They truly brought Nothing but Love to life in the studio.”