13 Songs, 1 Hour 18 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint is an ambitious, expansive work. It’s also one of the best albums of 2014. Akinmusire worked on a broad canvas on 2011’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening, but here the Oakland native stretches out even more. It’s striking how so many elements—strings, various vocalists, Mellotron, spoken word, electronics, his expanded quintet—hang together in such an unforced way. Savior starts with “Marie Christie,” a duet for Akinmusire’s assertive trumpet and Sam Harris’ quietly rippling piano. The outstanding “Our Basement (Ed)” finds Becca Stevens’ vocals shaded by The Osso String Quartet, piano, and trumpet. On the mellow and melancholy “Vartha,” guitarist Charles Altura turns in a flowing, lucid solo. Theo Bleckmann’s singing is run through effects on “Asiam (Joan),” where the band create an impressionist background that melds with the gorgeous vocal tones. “Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child (Cyntoia Brown)” rivets thanks to the intense vocals of Cold Specks, and “Richard (Conduit),” a 16-minute instrumental recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York, closes the album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint is an ambitious, expansive work. It’s also one of the best albums of 2014. Akinmusire worked on a broad canvas on 2011’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening, but here the Oakland native stretches out even more. It’s striking how so many elements—strings, various vocalists, Mellotron, spoken word, electronics, his expanded quintet—hang together in such an unforced way. Savior starts with “Marie Christie,” a duet for Akinmusire’s assertive trumpet and Sam Harris’ quietly rippling piano. The outstanding “Our Basement (Ed)” finds Becca Stevens’ vocals shaded by The Osso String Quartet, piano, and trumpet. On the mellow and melancholy “Vartha,” guitarist Charles Altura turns in a flowing, lucid solo. Theo Bleckmann’s singing is run through effects on “Asiam (Joan),” where the band create an impressionist background that melds with the gorgeous vocal tones. “Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child (Cyntoia Brown)” rivets thanks to the intense vocals of Cold Specks, and “Richard (Conduit),” a 16-minute instrumental recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York, closes the album.

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About Ambrose Akinmusire

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a forward-thinking musician with a bent toward atmospheric post-bop. Born in Oakland, California, Akinmusire showed early promise in his teens, and gigged professionally while also playing in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Early encounters with such luminaries as saxophonists Joe Henderson and Steve Coleman pushed Akinmusire to focus a keen eye on his own development. He earned his Bachelor's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and later his Master's from the University of Southern California. Along the way, Akinmusire studied with such trumpet luminaries as master teacher Laurie Frink, Lew Soloff, and Terence Blanchard. Akinmusire has appeared as a sideman on many albums, including works by saxophonist Coleman, pianists Aaron Parks and Vijay Iyer, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and others. In 2007, Akinmusire won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. A year later he released his debut solo album, Prelude to Cora, on Fresh Sound New Talent.

In 2011 Akinmusire returned with his sophomore album, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, on Blue Note Records. He then made session appearances on records by a wide array of artists, including David Binney's Graylen Epicenter, Chris Dingman's Waking Dreams, Baptiste Trotignon's For a While, and Gerald Clayton's Life Forum. His sophomore Blue Note date, The Imagined Savior Is Easier to Paint, was released in March of 2014. The following year, he contributed to rapper Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly and joined Marcus Miller on the bassist's Grammy-nominated Afrodeezia. In 2017, Akinmusire returned with the ambitious, two-disc concert album A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard. ~ Matt Collar

HOMETOWN
Oakland, CA
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
May 1, 1982

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