6 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Presented with the challenge—and a commission from New York's Ecstatic Music Festival and Saint Paul, MN's Liquid Music Series—to bring his craziest musical idea to life, Ambrose Akinmusire assembled his fourth studio album from such stylistic incongruities that it seems improbable it would work. But in execution, that mix—chamber music and underground hip-hop, all their elements fractured to forcefully relay sociopolitical messages—makes for the most ingenious project of the Oakland jazz trumpeter and composer's accomplished career. On "Free, White and 21," Akinmusire revisits a theme of naming African-American men and women recently slain by law-enforcement officers, but careening strings and broken rhythms—from improvising partners Marcus Gilmore (drums), Sam Harris (piano), and the Mivos Quartet—lift this performance into sublimity. On “Americana/the garden waits for you to match her wilderness,” rapper Kool A.D.’s lyrics push and pull between anxiety and optimism. Essentially, Origami Harvest is Akinmusire sharing both his deepest fears and highest hopes for his culture and country.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

Presented with the challenge—and a commission from New York's Ecstatic Music Festival and Saint Paul, MN's Liquid Music Series—to bring his craziest musical idea to life, Ambrose Akinmusire assembled his fourth studio album from such stylistic incongruities that it seems improbable it would work. But in execution, that mix—chamber music and underground hip-hop, all their elements fractured to forcefully relay sociopolitical messages—makes for the most ingenious project of the Oakland jazz trumpeter and composer's accomplished career. On "Free, White and 21," Akinmusire revisits a theme of naming African-American men and women recently slain by law-enforcement officers, but careening strings and broken rhythms—from improvising partners Marcus Gilmore (drums), Sam Harris (piano), and the Mivos Quartet—lift this performance into sublimity. On “Americana/the garden waits for you to match her wilderness,” rapper Kool A.D.’s lyrics push and pull between anxiety and optimism. Essentially, Origami Harvest is Akinmusire sharing both his deepest fears and highest hopes for his culture and country.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

3.7 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Junkyard Poet ,

I really, really want to like it...

I do. I really do. But I don't. The first three songs are formulaic - strings, rap, trumpet. They are, in my opinion, uninspiring. The rap seems to go nowhere. Perhaps I'm simply not hip enough to get it, but I don't get it. The last three pieces are decent, but they don't save the album. I absolutely love Ambrose's A Rift in Decorum and Prelude...To Cora, but Origami Harvest just doesn't do it for me.

mcdowellta ,

Akinmusire keeps us on our toes

Each release by Ambrose Akinmusire is a completely unique and powerful statement (A Rift in Decorum still leaves me speechless), and this recording only furthers my belief that he is one of the most unique voices in American music, let alone on trumpet. The best part about his writing and recording is that none of his previous works truly prepares you for the next- other than the simple reminder to expect the unexpected. Origami Harvest sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s more than the typical attempt to marry jazz, hip hop and chamber music. In fact trying to classify it as any one this would be a disservice to the music. I will say that this album more so reflects Akinmusire as a composer more so than as a soloist, and is largely a group affair featuring all artists involved on the record (in a similar vein as imagined savior). Outstanding album.

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