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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive musical presence
Although I enjoyed Ambrose Akinmusire’s last CD, I found it a little unadventurous overall. With the imagined savior is far easier to paint he and his collaborators take a step forward into some more edgy sounds and an overall more satisfying package, with none of the little fragments that kind of cluttered the previous one. To spice it up, Akinmusire has added...
Published 11 months ago by therealus

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Too much head. Not enough heart. Keep going, lad: you'll get there in the end.
Published 8 months ago by M. A. Killingworth


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive musical presence, 27 May 2014
By 
therealus "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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Although I enjoyed Ambrose Akinmusire’s last CD, I found it a little unadventurous overall. With the imagined savior is far easier to paint he and his collaborators take a step forward into some more edgy sounds and an overall more satisfying package, with none of the little fragments that kind of cluttered the previous one. To spice it up, Akinmusire has added voices and a string quartet, all deployed creatively to provide some of the best new music of the year (so far, anyway).

On Our Basement, Becca Stephens’s voice has a tremulous, almost childlike quality which lends the piece an elegiac tone. It’s backed well by the other musicians, with the OSSA string quartet in particular reinforcing the mood. Cold Specks, on Ceaseless Inexhaustible Child sounds more inebriate Tina Turner than Macey Gray, and the song is supported by some interesting, contemplative piano. Meanwhile, Theo Blackman’s voice on Asiam I found slightly less satisfactory – a little like the singers you get in musicals – but the tune itself is good overall. And on Rollcall For Those Absent, Muna Blake intones the names of victims of shootings, mostly by the police but also that of Travon Martin, shot by a self-appointed, so-far unaccountable vigilante. This is accompanied by mellotron, (spelt mellowtron in the liner notes!), an instrument I thought had gone down with the seventies.

In between are some sparkling, crackling and driving instrumentals, one of which, Inflatedbyspinning, is a piece solely for the string quartet.

The collection ends with the fifteen-minute Richard, a nice closing statement for the band which, as it turns out, was recorded live, although it’s not specified where on the liner notes. For the first third of the piece it appears to be a quartet performing – trumpet, bass, drums, piano - but after about five minutes the sax joins in for a super-extended blow which leads to the assumption that Walter Smith was holding back and filling his lungs while the others waited for him to join in.

With this record, Akinmusire marks himself out as a distinctive musical presence. I look forward to his next outing, but meanwhile I look forward to listening to this one a whole lot more times.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fragmented..., 3 Jun. 2014
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Funny how we hear things. The only other reviewer to date loves this album over and above 'When the heart emerges glistening' precisely because Akinmusire has introduced new formats into the equation - sung, orchestrated, live - on top of the spoken and studio work we're already familiar with - whereas I actually think he's spread himself too thinly by doing so. It doesn't help that one of the sung compositions is clearly inferior to everything else on the album, or that a couple of tracks have a distinctly laboured feel about them. The overall effect of such variance is a noticeable lack of fluidity and hence unity to the project. It 'lacks the thread that makes the loop' that can on a classic album like 'When the heart....' take us from beginning to end and back again so seamlessly. Don't get me wrong: there's still a lot of very fine music here from one of the most unique voices in jazz; even the odd splash of brilliance. But there's a world of difference in my book between a 4 and a 5 star album even though one enjoys both obviously.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 July 2014
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Brilliant CD saw him at Cheltenham Jazz festival and the CD did not dissapoint
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 20 Aug. 2014
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Too much head. Not enough heart. Keep going, lad: you'll get there in the end.
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