Dazzling instrumentals are supplemented by guest vocals from Laura Mvula, Common and more on the US trumpeter’s classy third album
Trumpet star Keyon Harrold’s previous album, 2017’s The Mugician, was a mashup of jazz, hip-hop and R&B; over the course of his career, he has played alongside the likes of Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna. This third album continues to defy conventional categories, albeit with more emphasis on balladry and the complications of romance. Much of it is set to languorous beats that allow Harrold to unfurl long, sultry solos, with the influence of Miles Davis strong in the mix – unsurprising, given that Harrold played the trumpet on the soundtrack of the 2015 biopic Miles Ahead.
He is, however, his own stylist – instrumentals The Intellectual and Gotta Go (Outer Space) are dazzling pieces of post-bop, and his ability to switch from pensive to swagger keeps things surprising. The showcase cuts are mainly vocal-powered, however. Opener Find Your Peace has singer Jean Baylor and rapper Common (an old friend) alongside Harrold’s trumpet, the angry Don’t Lie is voiced by Malaya while the seven-minute title track puts Harrold singing alongside Britain’s Laura Mvula. For the trumpeter: “Some of these notes, I play them because there’s not a better word.”
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