Origami Harvest

Origami Harvest

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.

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