Georgia Anne Muldrow
Georgia Anne Muldrow—“one of the most daring and important (albeit underappreciated) artists of her time,” according to AllMusic—contains multitudes, but the vocalist, songwriter, and beatmaker herself is uncontainable.
In a New York Times feature, Mos Def compared Muldrow to Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, and J. Dilla. Erykah Badu, who popularized the modern usage of “woke” in the Muldrow-penned song “Master Teacher,” cited Jimi Hendrix, Marcus Garvey, and Stevie Wonder. Leaving aside EPs, mixtapes, and collaborations—with the aforementioned artists, Blood Orange, and Robert Glasper—Muldrow has released more than twenty albums in fifteen years, rewriting R&B, hip-hop, pop, and jazz in her own Afrofuturist table of elements.
Muldrow was born into a jazz family; her mother is Rickie Byars-Beckwith, and her father is Ronald Muldrow. (Three of her albums were released as Jyoti, a name given to her by Alice Coltrane.) But she made her initial impact in a jazz-adjacent scene, as the first woman ever signed to Stones Throw Records, a cornerstone of the new beat music later epitomized by Flying Lotus, who produced and released Muldrow’s Overload on his Brainfeeder label.
In 2021, she released Vweto III, which she created all but single handedly—though at Big Ears, she’ll reinterpret it for a quartet with keyboardist Brandon Coleman, bassist Solomon Dorsey, and drummer Justin Brown. A mélange of big beats, soul melodies, minimalist electronics, hip-hop lineaments, experimental involutions, and funk explosions, it’s “fidgety and animated, as if the music is longing to move out of confinement,” Sheldon Pearce wrote in The New Yorker. “Though Muldrow’s previous music has often dealt with matters of great importance, the gravity here is a physical force—the internal pull of substantial grooves.”