Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire has always pushed the envelope, bringing about unabashed avant-gardism and exultant individualism to the music he so lovingly creates. His latest project is no different. Stemming from a challenge given to him by curators Judd Greenstein of Manhattan’s Ecstatic Music Festival and Kate Nordstrum of St. Paul’s Liquid Music Series, Akinmusire was asked: “What’s the craziest idea you have?” The result was a commissioned work which served as the embryo for the trumpeter’s fourth studio album, Origami Harvest, coming October 12th to Blue Note records.
“I wanted to do a project about extremes and putting things that are seemingly opposite right next to each other,” says Akinmusire. The result is a surprisingly homogenate blend of contemporary classical, art rap, and modern jazz, full of sensible contradictions and of eclectic syncopations. To undertake this endeavor, Akinmusire assembled a stellar cast including New York’s Mivos Quartet on strings, Das Racist’ Kool A.D. on the mic, and Walter Smith III on tenor, with the core band comprised of pianist Sam Harris and drummer Marcus Gilmore.
“I was thinking a lot about the masculine and the feminine. High and low art. Free improvisation versus controlled calculation. American ghettos and American affluence,” says Akinmusire. “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.”
Origami Harvest is the living proof that jazz is striving and prospering in this new era with its novel, creative and atypical blends of sounds and genres, always unique and invigorating with just the right dose of intellectualism and cerebralism. Akinmusire can only be described as a groundbreaking artist and his latest opus succeeds in pushing the boundaries of jazz music into new and undiscovered territories.
Stream the lead single from the record, “a blooming bloodfruit in a hoodie”, named in recognition of Trayvon Martin’s untimely death, below.
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Origami Harvest, the fourth studio album by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, is coming to Blue Note records October 12th.