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The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 11, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B00HGFIMK2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love this record and this player. I just saw this group live in Seattle, and they blew mine and the crowd's minds. The weight and heft of the composing is obvious, but Akinmusire's musicianship is just stunning. He can play so ridiculously fast, but the most effective notes are in his ballads, where he smears and bends notes so exquisitely to tell a story. I can only imagine how difficult these Zen-like notes are on the trumpet-the emboucher and breath control is so rare. All in this band are great musicians, but drummer Justin Brown is just awe-inspiring. Local drummers in the crowd had their jaws on the floor in disbelief as Brown went on an incredibly fast, intricate solo, for almost seven minutes! All in perfect time. The time signature, perhaps 300BPM, was so fast that listeners were just exhausted. And then, instantly, the band begins again with an introspective fugue-like ballad. The effect on the crowd was amazing-there were surprised laughs and sighs of joy audible in the assembly with the change in emotion. This group is at the top of the heap of young bands, and Akinmusire's approach to music as spirituality, without regard to jazz sensibilities, is truly inspiring. A young Coltrane? Wadada Leo Smith? Can't wait to hear more over the years.
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In this new CD of Akinmusire you can found the perfection tenics and the deepest feelings inside, all together. In some moments is magics. The compositions are greats, 12 of the 13 are from Ambrose and are musically full of real music. The musicians have space for improvisation but a inside the every songs the structure is very fix. The musician are, the fantastic Walter Smith III on sax, Sam Harris on piano, Hash Raghavan on drum on drums and include vocal themes with Backman and Cold Speks on voice and also some beautiful pieces with strings quartet, and always the sound of Ambrose, pure and warm.
Ambrose again found the perfect equilibrium between difference approach to the music. For me is perfect . There is not surprise only great music. The use of voice and the guitar of Charles Altura could be the only difference with his first album with Blue Note. He produced the album and his trumpet work is immaculate. Is the total Ambrose Akinmusire maturity. Jazz still live
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This second album of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire shows maturity, as I felt his debut was rather preliminary. Akinmusire definitely has his own jazz voice, one in the poetic realm. His music is full of energy and nebulous washes of melody. He and his fellow musicians (Charles Altura, guitar; Harish Raghaven, bass; Justin Brown, drums; Walter Smith III, tenor saxophone; Sam Harris, piano; with the Osso Strings of cello of Maria Jeffers, viola of Kallie Ciechmski, and violin of Brooke Quiggens Saulnier; and flute of Elena Pinderhughes) apply notes to the soundscape as an abstract expressionist uses her palette knife to apply thick paint to a canvas. The vocals of Becca Stevens (track 3), Theo Bleckmann (track 7), and Cold Specks (track 9) add to the shadowed moods. The album has unity, as if movements in a symphony. The tune The Beauty of Dissolving Portraits is, well, beautiful, and the follow-up track with Bleckmann singing is perfect juxtaposition. While this is the vision of Akinmusire, praise must also be given to his entire band for shaping it into reality. Constraint with harmony and meter, restatement and ornament show throughout. The final piece, "Richard (conduit)" is the longest, over 16 minutes. It is not given with credits in the interior package notes. It seems less a set piece and more an improvised jam, and, indeed, it is taken from a concert.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ambrose' music is unique and heart felt. Beautiful orchestration and masterful performance. His music is deep and contemplative and the type of thing you can go back and listen to over and over and keep discovering layers. It's not for the passive listener, this album does everything good at is supposed to do. It creates a mood, takes you to a place you wouldn't have gone without spurring, even moves you to tears. I bought 3 copies of this album just to share it with others because in a world producing cookie cutter copies of over produced and watered down products it is so refreshing to hear someone create something so powerful, empathetic and human. His music gets at the heart of jazz music which is, which to me is to face (not ignore) the trials and adversities of life and to try to tell a truly unique story through sound.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
As a fan of 50s and 60s jazz, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been keeping up with the current scene. Frankly, it hasn't seemed worth the effort. Of the handful of jazz albums I've heard from the past few years, the imagined savior is far easier to paint is by far the most interesting, tasteful, sophisticated and forward-thinking. Akinmusire is at the top of his game as a composer and performer. He perfectly blends classical and jazz as well as melody and the avant garde. A brilliant album of gorgeous songs, placed in the perfect sequence.
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By Lashman on August 30, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An especially accessible tone poem for thoughtful listeners and a beautiful concept recording for the causal listener. This recording struck me through the composition of the songs,variety of offerings and the exquisite level of musicianship from song to song. The title is easily followed as he moves from song to song and the piercing forays of Ambrose's horn reveal him as an artist who has much to say and knows how to present his ideas in varied forms. Beautiful, emotional evocative recording.
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