New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
is excited to announce today's release of the soundtrack to the film Judas and the Black
Messiah. Inspired by true events, it tells the impactful story of community activist Fred Hampton, who became the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black
Panther Party (BPP) in 1968, and who, through his empowering words and passion for the people, led the organization's fight for freedom and individuals' self-determination, before his assassination at the hands of the FBI. Judas and the Black
Messiah was directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut. The film was released today in theaters nationwide and is available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.
The Judas and the Black
Messiah (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) features new music from composer/ performer/ conceptualist/ curator Craig
Harris, and Grammy winning composer Mark Isham ("42," "Beyond the Lights"). To punctuate King's story of Hampton and the man who helped betray him, William
O'Neal, King enlisted composers Craig
Harris and Mark Isham, who enhance the realistic cinematography of `60s life in Chicago
with a combination of orchestral jazz and melancholy strings. In concert with Quelle Chris and Chris Keys, who contribute the composition's percussive highlights, the quartet of musicians created a sonic backdrop that feels of the era, yet contemporary and cinematic.
The in-person collaboration between Harris and Isham was rendered impossible by the pandemic lockdowns when all recording studios were shuttered. The two utilized calls and FaceTime, as well as sending musical ideas in files, which were opened, commented upon/augmented and then returned. "When Craig
and I couldn't work together, Shaka had the whole film temped with period music that could be licensed as a backup plan—it was also an experiment to see what would work. Some of the pieces did work, so Craig
and I were to tie the pieces together, to expand upon themes and build music that would connect the emotional and storytelling dots," explains Mark Isham.
The composers then put together scoring sessions in New York—with distancing protocols—with accomplished musicians from the worlds of classical and jazz.
The Judas and the Black
Messiah (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is now available digitally, and the track list is as follows:
The Inflated Tear - Opening
The Inflated Tear - The Car, the Club
We Got a Rat
How Much Money Do You Make?
Fred Visits the Crowns Church
Bill Is Recognized
The Inflated Tear - Judy Has Questions
We Got a Rat
We Got a Snitch
Jimmy Enters Store
Jake Wants Answers
The Inflated Tear - Bill's Past Comes Back
The Inflated Tear - Fred Hampton Funeral
Inspired by true events, "Judas and the Black
Messiah" is directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut. The project originated with King and his writing partner, Will Berson, who co-wrote the screenplay, and Kenny Lucas
& Keith Lucas, who co-wrote the story with Berson & King. King, who has a long relationship with filmmaker Ryan Coogler ("Fruitvale Station"), pitched the film to Coogler and Charles D. King ("Just Mercy," "Fences"), who are producing the film with Shaka King. The executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Ravi Mehta, Jeff Skoll, Anikah McLaren, Aaron
L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, Ted Gidlow and Niija Kuykendall.
"Judas and the Black
Messiah" stars Oscar nominee Daniel
Kaluuya ("Get Out," "Widows," "Black Panther
") as Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield (TV's "Atlanta," "Sorry to Bother You") as William
O'Neal. The film also stars Jesse
Plemons ("Bridge of Spies," "Game Night," "The Post"), Dominique Fishback ("The Hate U Give," HBO's "The Deuce"), Ashton Sanders ("American Son," "Moonlight
") and Martin
Sheen ("The Departed," TV's "The West Wing," TV's "Grace & Frankie").
Warner Bros. Pictures
presents, in association with MACRO/Participant/BRON Creative, a MACRO Media/Proximity Production, a Film by Shaka King, "Judas and the Black
Messiah." The film is slated for release in theaters nationwide on February 12, 2021 and will be available in the U.S. on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release. It is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures
and has been rated R for violence and pervasive language.
Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, bringing the entire history of the jazz trombone with him. From the growling gutbucket intensity of early New Orleans music, through the refined and articulate improvisation of the modern era set forth by J.J. Johnson, and into the confrontational expressionism of the `60s avant-garde, Harris handled the total vernacular the way a skilled orator utilizes the spoken word.
He has performed with a veritable Who's Who of progressive jazz's most important figures, including Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jaki Byard, Muhal Richard Abrams, David
Murray, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, The WORLD Saxophone Quartet, The Roots, RAKIM and innumerable others. His own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of musical expression.
And it's those two qualities that have dominated Harris's past 15 years of activity, bringing him far beyond the confines of the jazz world and into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, curator and artistic director—projects that include "Souls Within the Veil," composed to commemorate the centennial of W. E. B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black
Folk; "Brown Butterfly," a multi-media work based on the movement of Muhammad Ali with video, dance, and music; and "God's Trombones," based on James
Weldon Johnson's classic collection of poems that refigure inspirational sermons by itinerant Negro preachers.
Mark Isham is an electronic music innovator, jazz artist and prolific film composer. He traverses the musical landscape with unique performances and imaginative scores. As a musician, his trumpet sound is described as cool, avant-garde, sexy, haunting—even achingly beautiful. He has performed worldwide and collaborated with celebrated artists in multiple genres. Isham's ability to create unforgettable melodies combined with his willingness to experiment with innovative musical palettes have earned him accolades, including: Grammy and Emmy awards, and Academy Award and Golden Globe
Isham's collaborators include many of the most respected names in film and music: Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, Brian De Palma, Frank Darabont, John Ridley, Jodi Foster, Robert Altman, Sting, will.i.am, Sydney Lumet and Mick Jagger. Isham's signature sound is heard on albums of such music icons as Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Ziggy Marley, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, Chris Isaak
and Van Morrison.
Isham's inimitable musical voice is evident in his memorable scores for award-winning features that include the Oscar-winning "Crash
" and "A River Runs Through It," along with the Golden Globe-winning "Bobby." For "The Black
Dahlia," Isham was awarded Best Score by the International Film Music
Originally from New York City, Isham was exposed to all types of music through his parents, who were both musicians. The young Isham studied piano and violin, but the trumpet captured his imagination and became his signature instrument. The Ishams moved from NYC to San Francisco, and by the age 15, Isham was playing in jazz clubs, simultaneously performing with Oakland and San Francisco symphonies. He ultimately formed his own band, Group 87.