ListN Up Playlist: justine lee hooper (November 15, 2023)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

The art of flutist and improviser justine lee hooper — A New Yorker from birth — shares the ethos of the city that never sleeps, melding disparate genres, eras, and timbres to create uniquely human music. Their live sets often invoke the vast interdisciplinary repertoire and legacy of Black creatives, including deft samples and soaring meditative improvisations. justine has collaborated with artists such as duendita, Joy Guidry, Key Glock, and Solange, and they also perform with and compose for Queer and Trans salsa band Las Mariquitas.

Hi! I hope you are doing well and finding ease at this time. My name is justine lee hooper, and I use the pronouns they/she. I’m a flutist and improviser based in Queens, NY, and I’m really grateful and honored to share with you sounds and songs that were pivotal to my healing and loving this past summer. And, of course, influencing my own performance practice. I invite you to close your eyes, if that is available and feels comfortable to you, and sit or lie in a comfortable position while listening to the first song on the playlist (or the entire 50-minute playlist, if that speaks to you). I also intend for you to listen to this playlist in its given order. Thank you for being here, and I hope you feel what you need during your listening.

“Kazuko – Instrumental” by Pharoah Sanders

As someone who has found much introspection through the stillness of yoga and meditation, the ethereal washes of sound from the saxophone, harp, and drones, paired alongside percussive, heartbeat-like elements, are a few of the reasons I find myself coming back to this cosmic offering by Sanders in my own meditation practice.

“Fire and Rain” by Hubert Laws

I was raised on the music of Hubert Laws and Dave Valentin, among countless jazz legends. Laws laid down the foundation and direction of sonic possibilities with my flute. Over 10 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing him perform, right before I was invited to play one of his works for short film, Kuvuka Daraja. This summer, I stumbled upon a copy of his record Afro Classic and had to secure it for my collection.

“You’ve Got To Learn – Live” by Nina Simone

This six-song set performed by Nina Simone at the Newport Jazz Festival was unreleased for nearly 60 years. The first track on the album, “You’ve Got To Learn,” specifically reached my heart when I was experiencing conflict with blood family, with whom I used to go to the same festival every summer. The last track on the album, “Music For Lovers,” I explored as a graphic score for my chosen family, Las Mariquitas.

“Money (That’s What I Want)” by Jackie Shane

Enough said.

More on Jackie Shane and more on the gender and wage pay gap in the United States.

“Everybody Loves the Sunshine” by Kiefer and Theo Croker

A new take on an old classic.

“Galaxy In Turiya” by Alice Coltrane

The psychedelic experience of listening to “Galaxy In Turiya” in my headphones while I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and watched the clouds on a humid July afternoon in my first time at the beach in way too long was a feeling that I greatly enjoyed.

“for hope” by justine lee hooper

Streaming since 2021, the following is an excerpt from when I initially released my debut recorded project via Patreon: “’for hope’ is exactly what it means. here’s to hope for you and your projects and goals and rest and love. here’s to finding places and spaces away from those that cause us anguish. here’s to hope for our world. here’s to hope for those around us. that everyone is able to be who they want to be, freely and safely.”

“Energía Renovable” by Mobéy Lola Irizarry

Accompanied alongside sounds of nature, “Energía Renovable” is by composer, percussionist, my Cancer season sibling, dear friend, and Salsa Mami, Mobéy Lola Irizarry. I’ve always had trouble imagining myself growing old. Irizarry addresses and affirms life in this testimony from her work Seka’s Dream. From Irizarry, “[Seka’s Dream is] not an album or an EP but rather a dream. Intended to be a step in the collective creative path towards the inevitability of Land Back, decolonization, and trans liberation.”


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, and is made possible thanks to generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.

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