Release Date: Mar 11, 2014
Record label: Blue Note
Genre(s): Jazz, Avant-Garde, Modern Creative, Post-Bop, Modern Composition, Avant-Garde Jazz
Casting a spell might just be the real goal of any artist. The filmmaker hopes to create a world that you will enter, the novelist wants you to see her landscape in your mind’s eye, the dancer might have you see all the universe in the sweep of a limb. Music can do that. It enters you almost without permission, even in the dark.
After the stunning modern jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire delivered on the acclaimed When the Heart Emerges Glistening in 2011, he plays it anything but safe on The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint. With his working quintet -- tenor saxophonist Walter Smith, drummer Justin Brown, bassist Harish Raghavan, and pianist Sam Harris -- he expands the frame to include guitarist Charles Altura in a sextet or alternating with Smith. In addition, vocalists Becca Stevens, Cold Specks, and Theo Bleckman (all of whom contribute lyrics) appear, as do the Osso String Quartet and flutist Elena Penderhughes.
After years of knocking around the music business, Aloe Blacc (born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III) found his place as a retro-style soul singer. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was a rapper in the duo Emanon. His 2006 solo debut album, “Shine Through,” toyed with hip-hop hybrids, Latin rhythms and bilingual lyrics — his parents are Panamanian — but he set those experiments aside.
When trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire released his Blue Note debut three years ago, “When the Heart Emerges Glistening,” it felt as if his talents could take him anywhere. So, it makes sense that in crafting his follow-up, Akinmusire very nearly goes everywhere. Engrossing, elusive and packed to its literal limits with ideas at 79 minutes, “The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint” beautifully takes Akinmusire’s distinctive tone to new realms, including slow-burning orchestral swells and convention-defying vocal collaborations that attempt to translate his vision into words.