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The Brian McCarthy Nonet‘s The Better Angels of our Nature musically explores how conflicts of the Civil War continue into today, sonically weaving traditional folk songs with modern perspective to confront the past and understand our present. A country divided is a familiar feeling for Americans in 2020, and this project draws a direct line from the historical conflicts and beliefs to our lives today.
The recording, released in 2017 via Truth Revolution Recording Collective, earned wide critical acclaim. The Buffalo News called the nonet “continually surprising and quite brilliant…fine playing and musical imagination in this sumptuous recording. Wholly unexpected and terrific.” Black Grooves magazine noted that McCarthy is “a great saxophonist and composer….These master musicians allow the musical and historical themes implicit in these songs to unfold, their playing simultaneously beautiful and challenging.”