Composer, singer and instrumental polymath Ben LaMar Gay has announced the release of his new album Open Arms to Open Us, out November 19th on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records. The first offering from the Southside Chicago native’s newest project is a pulsing melodic bellow featuring OHMME singers Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, titled “Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks on You.” According to Gay the song is “inspired by the preparation one makes for another when it’s time for them to enter or exit an embrace, a memory or a life.”
The new album was produced and recorded at International Anthem Studios in Chicago between March and June of 2021. Across sixteen tracks Gay fluently interweaves jazz, blues, ballads, R&B, raga, new music, nursery rhyme, tropicalia, two-step, hip-hop and beyond in a beaming expression of his signature omni-genre “Pan-Americana” brew. Alongside his own sizable toolkit of instruments (cornet, keyboards, synthesizers, flutes, percussions), Gay surrounds himself with steady bandmates (including Tommaso Moretti on drums, Matthew Davis on tuba, and Rob Frye on woodwinds), while also shining the spotlight on female artists from his cast of regular collaborators. Featured artists on the album include: OHMME singers Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, bassist/vocalist/arranger Ayanna Woods, multi-disciplinary Rwandan artist Dorothée Munyaneza, poet A.Martinez, cellist Tomeka Reid, and vocalists Onye Ozuzu, Gira Dahnee, and Angel Bat Dawid.