The band’s songs incorporate jazz improvisation with hip-hop beats and melodies drawn from gospel and soul new music, and Woody resists slotting it into a person distinct style. “All of this is Black music. The things with rapping has just as substantially inspiration from individuals like Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and the things with just trumpet from factors that are not necessarily viewed as to be what folks connect with jazz,” Woody suggests. “I can not place these genres on items for the reason that that’s how people institutionalize them.”
For Woody, Black songs arrives from communities rather than institutions. “You just can’t master it from a laptop or computer or a book—that’s just not how it functions. You understand it from jam sessions and getting about elder musicians who go it on to you. That’s how it is and how it often will be. And studying from individuals like Craig Alston has taught me that I ought to give it to the upcoming generation and to my peers.”
Jointly with Very long, Woody has brought his music past the phase. In 2019, Calvin Klein arrived across audio they had recorded and questioned to use it for an advertisement campaign. That started an ongoing sequence of movie scoring jobs. “I love viewing a thing on the display screen, staying motivated by it, and figuring out how I can portray it musically,” claims Woody. He and Extended scored songs for Unwavering: The Electrical power of Black Innovation, a documentary created by the nonprofit Echoing Inexperienced about recipients of their Black Male Achievement Fellowship.
Legitimate to their character, several of the duo’s scores have been collaborations with the Baltimore artwork scene, these kinds of as with accomplishing artist Nia June and cinematographer Kirby Griffin. Woody and Extensive composed tunes for a film by June and Griffin termed The Unveiling of God (2021), a visual tribute to the filmmakers’ forefathers and the Black males of Baltimore. The scoring operate displays Woody’s dedication to songs that not only comes from a group but can also be utilised to serve it.
Woody has a lot of new initiatives ahead of him. He and Very long system to keep on movie scoring collectively. He and an additional musician mate, Brandon “Buz” Donald, have a training and accomplishing residency at the College of Maryland. UPENDO performs weekly at the Metropolis Winery in DC and plays weekly at other venues all-around Baltimore. The big occasion this 12 months, having said that, will be the launch of UPENDO’s very first album, as nevertheless untitled. The challenge is a long time in the making, subject matter to the trumpeter’s at any time-significant requirements. He options to launch it in August, close to the time of his (and Alston’s) birthday.
Regardless of his lots of achievements, Woody locates his milestones at a much more own level. He cites assembly Lengthy, forming UPENDO, and just becoming ready to continue to keep taking part in new music. “I never want to chat about accolades too much due to the fact which is not actually what it’s all about,” Woody says. “My songs is about celebrating lifetime and really like. Adore frequently gets seen as a little something one-dimensional, but there are so lots of distinct kinds of like and so numerous distinctive ways to love. That’s what my songs is about.” Woody is strongly informed of the diverse forms of love that have nurtured his music—the adore of a mother, of a trainer, of a pal, of the previous keepers of a tradition—and via his music, he channels that really like back again into the community that 1st presented it.