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Ambrose Akinmusire: A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard

Mark E. Gallo By

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Live albums can be an iffy proposition. Not so with this double CD set recorded live at New York's legendary Village Vanguard.

California born Akinmusire has worked with the same band for a number of years and their communication is apparent. Pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown supply the support and the embellishment appropriate and compliment the trumpet master throughout. In a program that rides an emotional rollercoaster, Akinmusire offers 16 original compositions over a two hour period that are wholly mesmerizing. "Moment In Between The Rest (To Cure an Ache)," for instance, is dramatically Mingus-esque.

For nearly 10 minutes he "speaks" and finds sounds that the audience may not have expected. It features delicate piano behind moments that sound as if he is blowing so high in the register as to sound as if he is blowing into the mouthpiece alone. Sometimes he offers elephant sounds. Every sound is thoughtful and well executed. "Brooklyn (ODB)" begins with an extended piano musing. As is the case throughout the program, Akinmusire and his mates play both intensely powerful and nuanced music. This is not background music. It is intellectually stimulating and requires close attention. The band mates are given room to stretch, as on "Piano Sketch" and "Condor," which give Harris and Raghavan openings, but this is clearly the leader's date. On the quiet "A Song to Exhale (To Curve an Ache)" as well as on the more rambunctious "Umteyo" Akinmusire does not fail to impress.

This is a master trumpeter with few contemporary equals.

Track Listing: DISC 1 1. Maurice & Michael (sorry I didn't say hello) 2. Response 3. Moment in between the rest (to curve an ache) 4. Brooklyn (ODB) 5. A song to exale to (diver song) 6. Purple (Intermezzo) 7. Trumpet Sketch (milky pete) DISC 2 1. Taymoor's World 2. First Page (Shabnam’s poem) 3. H.A.M.S. (in the spirit of honesty) 4. Piano Sketch (Sam Intro) 5. Piano Sketch (beyond enclosure) 6. Condor (Harish Intro) 7. Condor 8. Withered 9. Umteyo

Personnel: Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Sam Harris: piano; Harish Raghavan: bass; Justin Brown: drums.

Title: A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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