Origami Harvest

Origami Harvest

by Ambrose AkinmusireAmbrose Akinmusire


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Ambrose Akinmusire's challenging fourth album for Blue Note (and sixth overall), 2018's Origami Harvest is an ambitious work that finds the trumpeter blending seemingly disparate elements -- including spoken word, classical chamber music, free improvisation, and hip-hop rhythms -- into a textured mix. The album was born out of a commission for curators Judd Greenstein of Manhattan's Ecstatic Music Festival and Kate Nordstrum of St. Paul's Liquid Music Series. They dared Akinmusire to bring to fruition his "craziest idea," and he did, crafting what are best described as evocative soundscapes. Helping to fill out these soundscapes are fellow Bay Area native rapper Victor Vazquez (aka Kool A.D.), Brooklyn-based Mivos Quartet, pianist Sam Harris, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. While there are moments of inventive soloing here, they are rare. More often, as in the opening "A Blooming Bloodfruit in a Hoodie," Akinmusire works to punctuate A.D.'s spoken word sections, fluttering and sparring with delicate urgency underneath the rapper before finally launching into his own synth and drum-backed solos late in the track. In fact, he barely plays any trumpet on "Americana/The Garden Waits..." and "Particle/Spectra," the latter of which showcases a soulful vocal from LMBRCK_T. Nonetheless, both songs are deeply layered and cinematically constructed, moving from ruminative classical chamber sections to spacy funk midsections before finally pulling back into restrained string endings. All of this is thoughtfully composed, and there are brilliant moments that definitely grab your attention. Particularly compelling is "Miracle and Streetfight," in which Akinmusire's trumpet surfs against the dissonance of Mivos Quartet's sharp string waves as A.D. lays down his laconic invective. Equally engrossing is Akinmusire's fiery opening volley on "The Lingering Velocity of the Dead's Ambitions," in which he squawks and moans with tight-eyed intensity as Mivos Quartet play a buzzing crunch of sustained bass notes and piercing accents. There is much to admire on Origami Harvest, including Akinmusire's scoring for Mivos Quartet, who offer a vibrant harmonic counterpoint to his trumpet playing. Similarly, Harris and Gilmore offer their own layered asides, with Gilmore dropping into circular trap-style beats throughout and Harris shifting from warm piano to unearthly synthesizer as needed. For those who take the time to explore Origami Harvest and the unexpected bends and folds in Akinmusire's construction, a wealth of discoveries can be found.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/12/2018
Label: Blue Note Records
UPC: 0602567737414
catalogNumber: 002866202
Rank: 10012

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