Track: Joy Guidry explores their ‘Inner Child’ in throaty free jazz bassoon ahead of their February long-player

Joy Guidry, photographed by Shala Miller

NEW YORK composer, bassoonist and Berlin Prize for Young Artists nominee Joy Guidry is an artist who likes to – nope, is compelled to – dive deep into the music they investigate, be that modern composition, the high flight of free jazz, the expanse of drone, or the articulation of spoken word pieces.

The artist responsible for such thoughtful works as “Voices of the Ancestors” and “Y’all don’t wanna listen”, which have created a buzz in the Big Apple underground, has announced a follow-up to their debut, self-released album Darkness Is A Myth. It’s called Radical Acceptance and is fully intended as a statement of an artist coming into their own and loving themselves, and it’ll be out early February on Whited Sepulchre, Cincinatti’s splendid torchbearer of the leftfield.

They’re teasing for the album with the textural, open free jazz of “Inner Child”, an exploration of the psyche in rolling drums, the throaty burr of the bassoon, other reed instruments curling around. It’s very immersive, sings a song of a little sorrow and a lot of self-care.

And it’s that care which lies at the heart of their work; Joy is all about self-love, compassion, laughter, and a drive to amplify Black artmakers and noisemakers. Joy seeks to channel their inner child not only in awareness and acceptance, but in honour of their ancestors and predecessors.

And let’s talk accomplishments: they hold a bachelor’s degree in bassoon performance from the Peabody Conservatory and a graduate performance diploma from the Mannes School of Music, have performed with the Dance Centre Kenya Ballet Orchestra and International Contemporary Ensemble, and were featured soloist in Harvard professor and fellow Black out-musics composer Yvette Jackson’s opera Fear Is Their Alibi.

We should let Joy tell us more of the forthcoming album: “Radical Acceptance is a personal practice that has evolved in my life over the past year,” they say. “This doesn’t mean there aren’t still tough times, but times of warmth and comfort are much more present these days.

“I will never be able to change my past, the things that hurt me, but I can live in a peaceful and beautiful life of my own creation. The most important thing I’ve had to teach myself is that there is nothing wrong with my body or my brain. My body is fat, and I struggle with my mental health daily, and neither of those things make me any less of a human being. I know that my Black, Fat, Queer and non-binary body is valid in every way.

“Learning to love my whole self unconditionally will be a lifelong journey, but I am just so happy to be where I am today. This is my radical acceptance.”

Joy Guidry’s Radical Acceptance will be released digitally and on limited edition lavender vinyl by Whited Sepulchre Records on February 4th; order yours from Bandcamp.

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