Considering the way Rebecca Angel’s sultry vocals have till now wrapped themselves so beautifully around the melodies and grooves of traditional jazz, Brazilian and urban pop, she could easily build an inspiring career around romantic standards and perhaps some originals from each of those realms.
Instead, over the past few years, she’s complemented those leanings by developing an equally powerful musical social consciousness. Her hypnotic, lyrically incisive 2019 single “Thoughts and Prayers” reflected the fears, anxieties and frustrations taking hold of Americans as random shootings and the killing of innocents were keeping us all on edge.
Now, decades after Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth” became a defining Vietnam-era classic, Rebecca continues her artful fusion of sociopolitical commentary and sultry soul-jazz by introducing it to a new generation with urgency and vibrancy.
With a smooth, silky flow inspired by the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 version, the track pairs Rebecca’s cool bossa tinged vibe with the sonic brilliance of keyboardist producer Jason Miles and a hip, crackling ensemble featuring the deep pocket of Reggie Washington (bass) and Gene Lake (drummer) the hypnotic, edgy electric guitar of Dean Brown, as well as the vocalist's father, acclaimed trumpeter Dennis Angel. Train your ears on the lengthy outro and you’ll be treated to some splendid improvisational riffing by the band, Rebecca and a small chorus of backing vocalists.
For Rebecca, the song hit both a personal and universal chord connected to the protests against systemic racism that have taken hold of America and many other countries in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.