Staff Picks: February 2023

Rock 'n' roll, blues, hip-hop, rap, R & B, soul, gospel, jazz, disco… all of these genres have one thing in common—they were pioneered by black musicians. In celebration of Black History Month, this month's selections highlight some incredible music by black artists. Head over to our Staff Picks page to check out all our Staff Picks.

Find something you love? Let us know in the comments, or share it with the rest of the Sheet Music Direct community over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dan's Pick
All Blues, Miles Davis

The impact Miles Davis had on jazz and the American music landscape cannot be understated. While there are plenty of tunes to pick from, one of my favorites has always been "All Blues" from his 1959 studio album Kind of Blue. The modal composition is incredible, and the improv opportunities are endless.

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Becca's Pick
Higher Ground, Stevie Wonder

Released in 1973 (50 years ago!), Stevie Wonder wrote the track "Higher Ground" just before being involved in a near-fatal accident, which left him in a coma for 4 days. But Stevie bounced back and kept on writing hit after hit afterwards, still to this day. Recently, Stevie performed this song at the 2023 GRAMMY awards this past weekend with country powerhouse Chris Stapleton, showing everyone that he's still got it.

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Sam's Pick
Crown, Stormzy

Taken from his 2019 album Heavy Is the Head, "Crown" is an introspective piano ballad from Stormzy, which sees him reflect on the psychological burden of being the "king of rap" in the UK. It's one of my favourites from the man they call Big Mike.

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Julia's Pick
At Last, Etta James

This song is an all-time classic and such a beautiful piece to perform. Etta's smooth vocals over that string arrangement just makes my heart sing!

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Bill's Pick
Cult of Personality, Living Colour

The winner of the Grammy Award for "Best Hard Rock Performance" in 1990, Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" continues to live on as one of the best rock tracks ever recorded. Predating bands like Nirvana, their sound helped bridge the gap between the more common "hair rock" and metal that dominated the 80s, to the grunge sound that dominated the 90s.

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Mark's Pick
Shake a Tail Feather, Ray Charles

My love for Ray Charles began in a little shop called Ray's Music Exchange, in which he, along with Jake & Elwood (a.k.a. The Blues Brothers), delivered a cinematic performance of "Shake A Tail Feather" that still makes me smile to this day.

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Check out some of the best music by black artists via our Black History Month page - all available to download and print instantly from any device.

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