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Ambrose Akinmusire|Owl Song

Owl Song

Ambrose Akinmusire

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Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummer Herlin Riley keep things stripped to their essence on Owl Song. And like the title's avian creature, these topnotch musicians clearly have sensitive hearing. The result is attuned, attentively crafted music that wastes no notes as it conveys emotional heft.

At times, Akinmusire's compositions have the directness of folk or pop shaped by refined improvisation. Akinmusire often sticks to simple lines and employs repetition to an unusual degree. Frisell wrings gorgeous tones from his instrument without the use of a lot of fancy effects. And Riley's excellent drumming could almost be described as modest. (He does, however, bust out on "Mr. Riley," an exciting duet with Akinmusire.)

On "Owl Song 1," plaintive trumpet and guitar state the piece's extended melody over brushed snare and soft bass drum accents. The players' interaction is intimate, interconnected. Certain moments can catch the listener off guard: a tiny change in inflection or timbre can highlight an affecting shift.

Frisell's cycling chord pattern and Riley's tambourine and hand drum are present throughout "Weighted Corners." Akinmusire intones lovely shapes, but more intriguingly, his performance is an example of his use of repetition. It's surprising to hear a trumpet repeat a figure again and again; it lends a pushing-the-envelope edge to the hushed setting.   

"Henya," which has a psychedelic-like vibe, unfolds at an unrushed pace. Riley's free-time drumming, more active than elsewhere, shines. Clattering hits and effective cymbal splashes create a charged backdrop for long-held trumpet tones and searching guitar. During a key stretch late in the track, the chord progression comes to the fore, displaying the subtle emotional poignancy that marks this reflective album.  © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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Owl Song

Ambrose Akinmusire

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1
Owl Song 1 (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:05:52

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

2
Weighted Corners (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:04:23

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

3
Flux Fuelings (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:05:03

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

4
Owl Song 2 (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:06:27

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

5
Grace (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:06:26

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

6
Mr. Frisell (feat. Bill Frisell)
00:03:15

Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

7
Mr. Riley (feat. Herlin Riley)
00:03:26

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

8
Henya (feat. Bill Frisell & Herlin Riley)
00:07:06

Herlin Riley, Drums, FeaturedArtist - Bill Frisell, Guitar, FeaturedArtist - Dave Darlington, MasteringEngineer, MixingEngineer - Ambrose Akinmusire, Composer, Producer, Trumpet, MainArtist - Adam Muñoz, RecordingEngineer

© 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc. ℗ 2023 Origami Harvest, under exclusive license to Nonesuch Records Inc.

Album review

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummer Herlin Riley keep things stripped to their essence on Owl Song. And like the title's avian creature, these topnotch musicians clearly have sensitive hearing. The result is attuned, attentively crafted music that wastes no notes as it conveys emotional heft.

At times, Akinmusire's compositions have the directness of folk or pop shaped by refined improvisation. Akinmusire often sticks to simple lines and employs repetition to an unusual degree. Frisell wrings gorgeous tones from his instrument without the use of a lot of fancy effects. And Riley's excellent drumming could almost be described as modest. (He does, however, bust out on "Mr. Riley," an exciting duet with Akinmusire.)

On "Owl Song 1," plaintive trumpet and guitar state the piece's extended melody over brushed snare and soft bass drum accents. The players' interaction is intimate, interconnected. Certain moments can catch the listener off guard: a tiny change in inflection or timbre can highlight an affecting shift.

Frisell's cycling chord pattern and Riley's tambourine and hand drum are present throughout "Weighted Corners." Akinmusire intones lovely shapes, but more intriguingly, his performance is an example of his use of repetition. It's surprising to hear a trumpet repeat a figure again and again; it lends a pushing-the-envelope edge to the hushed setting.   

"Henya," which has a psychedelic-like vibe, unfolds at an unrushed pace. Riley's free-time drumming, more active than elsewhere, shines. Clattering hits and effective cymbal splashes create a charged backdrop for long-held trumpet tones and searching guitar. During a key stretch late in the track, the chord progression comes to the fore, displaying the subtle emotional poignancy that marks this reflective album.  © Fred Cisterna/Qobuz

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