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Zeitgeist² - 116CD (2022)

by Shirley Smart & Robert Mitchell

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Six panel card sleeve with artwork by Walt Shaw.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Zeitgeist² - 116CD (2022) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      £10 GBP

     

1.
Opals 06:01
2.
THE FIRST NOTE Instead of divide and conquer, Instead of separate and rule, What if it had been unite and embrace, So the selfish spirit no longer is seen as a jewel. Instead of measuring history through the frequency of war, The power of peace shouldn’t need prophets to implore, Imagine the history books full of tranquillity invasions, So pride in a tribe no longer has bloodshed as part of its equation. What would this world look like after an age of harmony, The newsreader simply looks silently out of the screen at you with a smile, For the war they called the last is by then but a rumour in living memory, As writing just the first note of the ‘Song For All Humanity’ took an eternal trial.
3.
Anxieties 04:38
4.
Zeitgeist 05:36
5.
6.
7.
8.
A SON OF WINDRUSH REFLECTS My mother’s pride to serve as a nurse, Needs no poem, no song, no chapter, no verse, Her subsequent rise to maternity ward sister, Came after decades of service - no dream from a distant vista, A junior prize winner - one of two that year from the Bajan Isle, A medical student of the 1960s - witnessing the spark of upheaval in a combustible vial, Onward to nursing qualification from the seat of empire, To help address the vast wounds of war leaving expansive desires hanging by a wire, Thousands of hours of study fuelled by the calling to be a healer of humanity, Far more on the wards through daily tests that would wreck a layperson’s sanity, Barking, King George, Newham, Rush Green amongst the hospitals seen, None of them dampened the spirit or made her abandon the team, Yet not one of those hours could frustrate, Not one of those hours could allow the Windrush generation of medical talent to deflate, The unavoidable meeting with the inherited state of psychotic supremacist vanity, Expressed as a variation on a sentence spat from the most ungrateful patients - ‘take your black hands off me’. Promotion, seniority and the earning of huge respect, In the face of a slow and steady betrayal of the NHS dream - set on the path to being wrecked, Through the ever escalating pressures of a system under huge strain, The Hippocratic Oath’s ‘Joy of Healing’ was never put to shame, The constant overlooking of shift pattern requests, the constant loss of great nurses and doctors, Always exhausted, demoralized, stressed, So an enforced move from the hospital to the GPs office - a change for this final vocational round, A straighter route until retirement - by a simpler system bound, Naturalization then seemed like an extra for an invited member of the aforementioned empire, A prudent move at a time when leaders couldn’t tweet as if to erect more mental barbed wire, Governmental oversight quadrupled that prudence - as the ink dries on a new definition of British citizen, It is not where you are born - but the usefulness to a country’s needs ‘til who knows when’, This Windrush scandal has caused deeper division at a divisive time, Deportations, job losses, medical care unattainable - it is like the black presence is a crime, It took 135 years to unveil the Mary Seacole monument, Let’s hope it is not 135 more until the Windrush contribution is decently honoured with respectful portent, As a witness to the immense changes that generation brought to an isle in denial, Every battle and every victory sealed in your unflinching style, As a product of an amazing life, love and ambitious intent, It’s a privilege to proudly reflect this lineage - through the deep impression of the vital potential for Ultimate conquest (lying latent?), In those who are truly resilient. For Mum.
9.
Mind's Eye 05:22

about

This duo, and the resulting album developed out of conversations between Robert and Shirley whilst working on Robert’s Invocation project in 2014.

Their discussions explored the varied paths of their respective backgrounds, and different relationships of all aspects of those musical paths to improvisation. Both have a shared classical training, in which the absence of an improvisation became both a frustration and source of inspiration. Part of the story of this album lies in their different forms of searching for this lost aspect of the classical tradition, and also the journey of embracing it in other musical forms.

Robert is long established as one of the UKs finest jazz pianists and composers, and finds expression also through the medium of poetry to explore themes of his background. He also debuts here as a narrator of his own poetry, focussing on a response to the Windrush scandal and tribute to his mum and the search for global peace.

Shirley spent many years in the Middle East, where she also became involved with both jazz and Middle Eastern regional traditions and their forms of improvisation. Since returning to the UK, she has established a formidable reputation as one of the most versatile and creative cellists on the scene, drawing on her various influences as a root and basis for her musical work.

Both artists are also highly involved in music education. Shirley is Head of Performance at City University. Robert is Jazz Piano Professor at Guildhall School Of Music and Drama.

This album brings together these different strands in each musician's journey, linked through the dialogic act of improvisation, to explore and re-explore their pasts and present.

credits

released January 20, 2022

Shirley Smart - cello.
Robert Mitchell - piano, voice.

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Discus Music Sheffield, UK

Discus Music was founded in 1994 by Martin Archer. The label releases leftfield rock music, free jazz, extended songform, electronics, improvised music, and other sounds which defy categorisation.

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