Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Jarrett Cherner have released their first album as a duo, Tone.
The pair began work on the album and its eight original compositions four years ago, but were finally able to complete it while under quarantine in their Brooklyn home. Charles sings on the record, accompanied by Cherner on piano—but through the process of making the album, they experimented with reversing roles, “just to see what that would generate,” Cherner explained in a statement. The song “Speak,” which is nearly entirely wordless, was one result of that process.
The duo also improvised often while writing the album. Charles said, “During this time in quarantine, we’ve used the studio as a space where I can improvise vocal parts on the spot, layer and explore, while also taking time to write more composed background vocals. It’s an approach that we’ve taken to both writing and recording that feels rooted in the [Black American Music] tradition we’re coming from.”
Tone comes months after Charles, as part of the ensemble Ajoyo, released the album War Chant. Listen to their new record here: