With guest appearances from 9th Wonder, Branford Marsalis, Phonte (of The Foreign Exchange/Little Brother), YahZarah, Geechi Suede (of Camp Lo) and several others, Freedom Suite follows in the tradition of other collaborative jazz and hip-hop projects like the late Guru's Jazzmatazz. The album features six original songs written and produced by The Beast, which are infused with both a live jazz aesthetic (drums, bass, piano, percussion, strings and horns were all recorded live) and an electronic/sample-based hip-hop aesthetic. Freedom Suite also includes four contemporary interpretations of standards" from the jazz and hip-hop cannon, including arrangements of Mos Def's Umi Says," Johnny Mercer & Hoagy Charmichael's Skylark" and Lauryn Hill's Doo Wop."
Interludes + Conversations on the Album
In addition to progressive production and songwriting, Freedom Suite also weaves an intellectual discourse into the album. Between songs, Beast emcee Pierce Freelon engages musicians and scholars such as Questlove, Herbie Hancock, Amiri Baraka, Branford Marsalis, Angela Davis and others in one-on-one discussions about music, culture and life.
Freedom Suite will be released in conjunction with the launch of Okayplayer's new jazz culture blog, The Revivalist, on October 26, 2010. The Revivalist is the leading online journal for the burgeoning jazz community. They are music innovators, musicians, and music lovers documenting and foretelling the stories of jazz and how it has influenced today's popular music.