trumpeter ambrose akinmusire + kool a.d. go deep

September 18, 2018
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There’s a lot going on in “a blooming bloodfruit in a hoodie,” the first piece released from trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire upcoming album, Origami Harvest. There’s the interplay between pianist Sam Harris and the strings of New York’s Mivos Quartet, that might make you wonder what sort of new-music ish you stepped into. There’s an insistent, spiritual groove courtesy of Marcus Gilmore‘s drums, and Akinmusire’s horn, which at times sounds pliant as a sheet of wind and at others, rides the rhythm. And in the center, there’s grand verse from Kool A.D., once of bratty rap crew, Das Racist, sounding eloquent and poetic, trying to balance a lot of non-jokey stuff while still having fun. Often all these things happen at once. The result is beautiful and heavy—which is not unexpected for a track named in recognition of Trayvon Martin‘s murder by the coward, George Zimmerman.

“a blooming bloodfruit in a hoodie” is the opener on Origami Harvest, an album that has all the making of a masterwork from the musician best known by heads for his trumpet’s graceful lines on Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly closer, “Mortal Man.” This one too has the feel of a personal epic, and Akinmusire says much. “Origami refers to the different ways black people, especially men, have to fold, whether in failure or to fit a mold. Then I had a son while writing this and I thought about these cycles repeating: Harvest.”

The Oakland-born trumpeter says that the album came out of a question posed by Judd Greenstein, who runs of experimental Ecstatic Music Festival in New York: “What’s the craziest idea you have?” Akinmusire replied that he “wanted to do a project about extremes and putting things that are seemingly opposite right next to each other.

“I was thinking a lot about the masculine and the feminine,” he continues. “High and low art. Free improvisation versus controlled calculation. American ghettos and American affluence. Originally, I thought I put them all so close together that it would highlight the fact that there isn’t as much space between these supposed extremes as we thought, but I don’t know if that’s actually the conclusion of it.”

Ambrose Akinmusire’s Origami Harvest is coming out on Blue Note on October 12th.