“I really want people to think and understand that we can “change the world,” but it has to be on a local stage first. I want this album to hopefully begin conversations and invoke action for better.”- Carlos Simon.
My Ancestor’s Gift is Carlos Simon’s debut album which combines influences from gospel, jazz and neoromanticism. The album also incorporates spoken word and historic recordings that come together to craft a multifaceted program of musical works that are inspired as much by the past as they are the present.
My Ancestor’s Gift includes conversational ‘interludes’ as well as Simon’s personal audio clips of sermons given by his great-grandfather, his grandfather and his father. He also recorded fragments of the album with instruments personally handed down to him from his ancestors, such as a Hammond B3 organ from his grandfather. Pieces from this album such as ‘Portrait of a Queen,’ set out to depict the evolution of black people in America through the lens of the black woman. Within this, Simon’s musical themes draw in melodies, textures, and rhythms of her thoughts throughout various time periods, including today.
Other pieces from the album reference key moments in history such as George Wallace’s ‘Segregation Now, Segregation Forever’ speech. Other quotes that can be heard in conclusion to the album are those of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.