Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few

"Lift Every Voice" b/w "Guidance" (Yoruba Soul Mix) (Division 81)

Contact Sam McAllister about Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few

“[Cosmic Transitions] handles the blues with care. They are the foundation, again and again, for a musical gift that is an ancestral inheritance.” — Downbeat (5 Stars)


“Much like the ancestor guiding this work, Collier creates open-ended music designed to connect with another realm.” — Bandcamp


“[Cosmic Transitions] has a vintage sound, but not like an Impulse! or Blue Note recording; instead, the group seems to have gone out of their way to capture the sound and feel of a self-released Afrocentric out jazz record from the early ’70s, or something that would have come out on India Navigation or Strata-East.” — Stereogum


In honor Black History Month, Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few, “a vital force in the Chicago scene” (Chicago Reader), present a stunning, expansive rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” b/w “Guidance” (Yoruba Soul Mix), via Division 81 Records. Collier’s first release since his masterful 2021 album, Cosmic Transitions – praised by DownBeat in a rare 5-star review as “a sound that disturbs the grounds of our imagination” – Collier and his band’s interpretation of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” was crafted with a purpose to connect all people through sound. Recorded on what would have been John Coltrane’s 94th birthday in the legendary Van Gelder Studio (the same room Coltrane recorded A Love Supreme), directly after completing the final take for Cosmic Transitions, Collier & The Chosen Few – comprised of Michael Shekwoaga Ode (drums), Jeremiah Hunt (upright bass), and Mike King (piano), bring the sound of jazz standards and spiritual anthems together with one request, to “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”


“We decided to go into the Studios of Rudy Van Gelder’s for a couple of reasons,” explains Collier. “That’s because we were enduring another struggle in Black culture/America, and ‘Lift Every Voice’ serves as an ode to our survival. Our never yielding faith and also as a requiem for every person who was a Black American and was slain unjustly. Persecuted, prosecuted and even stripped of dignities being seen as men, women and children. ‘Lift Every Voice’ reminds us to weather the storm and remember that the sun always comes shining through. ‘God of Our weary years, God of our silent tears.’ It’s a song that speaks to everyone who faces adversity on a daily basis. Our hearts sing with determination and resolve. We will continue forward and beyond, until victory is won.


At 23-years-old, Chicago/Brooklyn-based musician and composer, Isaiah Collier, has “transcended the realm of prodigy” (DownBeat), quickly becoming a tour-de-force in the Chicago music scene. As a child, Collier would play saxophone in the early hours of the morning, joined by his siblings to form a ramshackle band jam. Since those early days, Collier has developed into a musical auteur, playing sax, piano, drums, and more, and has performed all across the country as well as Europe and South America. 


On his most recent release, Cosmic Transitions, Collier and his band entered Rudy Van Gelder’s famed studio in New Jersey, on what would have been John Coltrane’s 94th birthday, to record the five-part suite composed by Collier himself. To compress all the understanding, lessons, love, and humility into writing would surely be taking the breath from the poetic moment that occurred on September 23rd, 2020. Recorded over the course of one day, each musician across the album takes hold of this composition and threads their own path to the purpose of this work of art. That purpose is like most forms of art, left to an audience for interpretation, to examine their place in life and hopefully feel a connection to something more than the here and now. Cosmic Transitions begins in invocation, with frequencies resonating in the same room where so many had stood with hopes and intentions that their art and purpose service a greater understanding. The performance finds each musician pushing and exploring the sonics of their individual instruments to expand as one wave, one journey. Beyond any space and time, beyond the common understanding of life and death, beyond a type of music or crowd, Cosmic Transitions is a doorway for all.