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Sarah Elizabeth Charles: Free of Form (Stretch/Ropeadope)

Review of album by vocalist associated with trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

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Photo of Sarah Elizabeth Charles album Free of Form
Sarah Elizabeth Charles album Free of Form

Impeccable technical prowess providing the base for boldly uninhibited expression, all driving sharply shaped political and cultural views: It’s a combination as rare as it is thrilling, bringing to mind Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln and, over the past half-decade, the neo-soul-meets-jazz fervor of Sarah Elizabeth Charles.

Charles’ progress has been significantly enriched in two ways: first, via her deepening symbiosis with trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who coproduced and made guest appearances on her sophomore release, 2015’s Inner Dialogue, and does likewise here; and then there’s the oneness that she’s built alongside quartet-mates Jesse Elder (keyboards), John Davis (drums) and Burniss Earl Travis II (bass), since her 2012 debut, Red.

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