When there's so much going on in the world around you, it can be difficult to ignore or to turn a blind eye. It can be even more difficult for an artist not to comment on or function as some sort of reflection of this world. Since releasing her critically acclaimed sophomore album "Inner Dialogue" in 2015, Sarah Elizabeth Charles' journey as a performer, composer and teaching artist has been full of experiences that she could not ignore. From working with the non-profit organization Rise2Shine in Haiti and participating in global conversations around art and culture at the first annual International Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi, to songwriting with youth at Carnegie Hall, conducting workshops at correctional facilities and performing with her band and the many other projects she is a part of, Charles’ vantage point has grown immensely. Recently, the decision to change her band's name to SCOPE speaks directly to this shift.
"SCOPE is the opportunity or possibility of dealing with something", Charles states. "As artists with a stage and as a vocalist with a microphone, I am given the space to say something. I am afforded the opportunity for people to listen, to communicate back and to create a dialogue however large or small. I want to allow the music we create as a band to be reflections of my interactions with and growth as a result of having an open relationship with the world."
Charles and SCOPE are preparing to release their third album, “Free of Form”, on October 6th, 2017 on the partnered Stretch Music/Ropeadope Label. This project includes veteran band members Jesse Elder (keys), Burniss Earl Travis II (bass), John Davis (drums) along with Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (special guest on trumpet and co-producer with Charles). On "Free Of Form", Charles’ lyrical content takes on an even bolder identity as she provides lyrically melodic touchstones for issues surrounding mass incarceration, political ideology, social media, police brutality, addiction, war and historical context. SCOPE's sonic space is conceptually concise and adventurous. At the same time, it retains colors of jazz, soul, indie rock, R&B and electronic experimentation. This all exists within an improvisational context that the bandmates have been cultivating together for over seven years. The familiarity is key and the space that each band member gives the other is essential to the possibilities of the listener's landscape. This is by far the most universal and unique of Charles’ works yet.