The art of shape-note singing combines spiritual messages with simple folk melodies. Created during the 19th century, it gave non-tutored voices the ability to express their devotion while singing in four-part harmony. The music found in century-old books like Ye Olde New England Psalm Tunes and The Sacred Harp intrigued trumpeter Dave Douglas, who interpreted hymns and folk songs on his lauded 2012 album Be Still. Together with pianist Uri Caine, he’s reimagined five shape-note songs with improvisation, plus five originals. The intimacy of these duets makes the music blend together so that, at times, it’s hard to tell a new piece from something written over a century ago.
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