Trumpeter and composer Ambrose Akinmusire returns with the release of the imagined savior is far easier to paint, an impressive and expansive new album that broadens the palette of his firebrand quintet with the addition of guitarist Charles Altura, the OSSO String Quartet, and vocalists Becca Stevens, Theo Bleckmann, and Cold Specks. Akinmusire s quintet features saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown a close-knit group of longtime friends and frequent collaborators that breathes a remarkable collective identity.
the imagined savior is far easier to paint delivers on the promise of Akinmusire s widely acclaimed Blue Note debut When The Heart Emerges Glistening, which Nate Chinen of The New York Times named his #1 album of 2011. The New Yorker has called him a thrilling young trumpeter and astute bandleader [who] has a unique spark in his playing. On the new album which Akinmusire produced himself he subtly shifts the focus away from those thrilling trumpet solos to his compositions (Akinmusire wrote 12 of the album s 13 tracks) while still leaving ample room for the band to stretch out and improvise.
Hearing vocals and lyrics set to his music was a different experience for Akinmusire, who often writes elaborate storylines and unspoken characters as inspiration for his instrumental compositions. With each of the vocal songs Akinmusire gave the vocalist the sketch of an idea and allowed them to flesh out lyrics based on that idea. Stevens returned both the music and lyrics for Out Basement (ed) while Bleckmann and Cold Specks set lyrics to Akinmusire s music on Asiam (joan) and Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child (cyntoia brown), respectively.