Composer/Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s Nonesuch Debut Album, ‘Owl Song,’ Due December 15; Features Bill Frisell, Herlin Riley

Browse by:
Year
Browse by:
Publish date (field_publish_date)
Submitted by nonesuch on
Article Type
Publish date
Excerpt

"This is my reaction to being assaulted by information," composer and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire says of his Nonesuch debut album, Owl Song, due December 15, featuring a trio with two musicians he has long admired, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Herlin Riley. "This record is me wanting to create a safe space. Part of the challenge was: Can I create something that's oriented around open space, the way some of the records I love the most do?" You can hear "Owl Song 1" here now. The New York Times says: "Akinmusire has been making some of the most intimate, spellbinding music of his career." Pitchfork has called his work "music that seeks peace not just despite a world of unrest, but within it."

Copy

Composer and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire makes his Nonesuch Records debut with Owl Song on December 15, 2023. The album features a trio with two musicians Akinmusire has long admired, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Herlin Riley. The first of two “title tracks,” “Owl Song 1,” is available today and can be heard below and here, where you can also pre-order the album.

The Owl Song trio performs live next week at The Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, Groton Music Center in Groton, Massachusetts, and The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. You can find details and tickets at nonesuch.com/on-tour.

“This is my reaction to being assaulted by information,” Akinmusire says of Owl Song. “This record is me wanting to create a safe space. Part of the challenge was: Can I create something that’s oriented around open space, the way some of the records I love the most do?”

He says of his collaborators, “I had a feeling of wanting to record with Bill from the first time we played—it was a duo performance, very little rehearsal. We just played through some of my songs, and it worked. One of Bill’s special gifts is the ability to shape a piece he’s just heard for the first time. He seems to know what the music wants before the first note.

“With Herlin, his commitment to beauty you can find in the groove. I never like to tell musicians too much about what I’m going for, because it should be about what these particular people bring … I said, ‘I know you’re the right person for this because of the way you approach the groove.’ And, of course, what he did is just beautiful.” He continues, “Also, I wanted to put people together who didn’t seem like they would go together ... and it turns out they haven’t played a lot. So, it was cross generational, cross subgenre, cross whatever.”

Akinmusire says of “Owl Song 1,” “I have special affinity for the owls. Their personality is so distinctive—always observing. I should add that the titles don’t have huge significance in terms of what they mean—my process is not so literal,” he adds. “I wrote these songs for the people in mind who would play. I was focused on coming up with a set of music … the titles were placeholders that stayed. So, ‘Owl Song 1’ and ‘2.’”

Ambrose Akinmusire’s musical gifts developed rapidly. He grew up in Oakland, California, and while in high school he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire joined Coleman’s Five Elements at age nineteen, touring while also a student at Manhattan School of Music. He then pursued further study—earning a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, then attending the Thelonius Monk Institute in Los Angeles, where his mentors included Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Hancock Institute.

In 2010, he was signed to Blue Note Records; his debut for the label, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, drew worldwide accolades. The Los Angeles Times observed that “Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered.”

In the wake of the acclaim for his debut, Akinmusire composed music for strings and voice (The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint, 2014), appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), and conjured a tapestry called Origami Harvest (2018) that explored the complexities of Black. His next project, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, furthered that narrative direction. Released two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, it contained poignant laments about income inequality and the effects of rapid gentrification on communities like those in the Bay Area where he grew up.

Owl Song is the first of three records Akinmusire is releasing on Nonesuch over the next year. Each will spotlight a distinct element of his musical world and involve different instrumentation and production approaches.

featuredimage
Ambrose Akinmusire: 'Owl Song' [cover]
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2023
    Composer/Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire’s Nonesuch Debut Album, ‘Owl Song,’ Due December 15; Features Bill Frisell, Herlin Riley

    Composer and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire makes his Nonesuch Records debut with Owl Song on December 15, 2023. The album features a trio with two musicians Akinmusire has long admired, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Herlin Riley. The first of two “title tracks,” “Owl Song 1,” is available today and can be heard below and here, where you can also pre-order the album.

    The Owl Song trio performs live next week at The Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, Groton Music Center in Groton, Massachusetts, and The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. You can find details and tickets at nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    “This is my reaction to being assaulted by information,” Akinmusire says of Owl Song. “This record is me wanting to create a safe space. Part of the challenge was: Can I create something that’s oriented around open space, the way some of the records I love the most do?”

    He says of his collaborators, “I had a feeling of wanting to record with Bill from the first time we played—it was a duo performance, very little rehearsal. We just played through some of my songs, and it worked. One of Bill’s special gifts is the ability to shape a piece he’s just heard for the first time. He seems to know what the music wants before the first note.

    “With Herlin, his commitment to beauty you can find in the groove. I never like to tell musicians too much about what I’m going for, because it should be about what these particular people bring … I said, ‘I know you’re the right person for this because of the way you approach the groove.’ And, of course, what he did is just beautiful.” He continues, “Also, I wanted to put people together who didn’t seem like they would go together ... and it turns out they haven’t played a lot. So, it was cross generational, cross subgenre, cross whatever.”

    Akinmusire says of “Owl Song 1,” “I have special affinity for the owls. Their personality is so distinctive—always observing. I should add that the titles don’t have huge significance in terms of what they mean—my process is not so literal,” he adds. “I wrote these songs for the people in mind who would play. I was focused on coming up with a set of music … the titles were placeholders that stayed. So, ‘Owl Song 1’ and ‘2.’”

    Ambrose Akinmusire’s musical gifts developed rapidly. He grew up in Oakland, California, and while in high school he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire joined Coleman’s Five Elements at age nineteen, touring while also a student at Manhattan School of Music. He then pursued further study—earning a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, then attending the Thelonius Monk Institute in Los Angeles, where his mentors included Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Hancock Institute.

    In 2010, he was signed to Blue Note Records; his debut for the label, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, drew worldwide accolades. The Los Angeles Times observed that “Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered.”

    In the wake of the acclaim for his debut, Akinmusire composed music for strings and voice (The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint, 2014), appeared on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), and conjured a tapestry called Origami Harvest (2018) that explored the complexities of Black. His next project, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, furthered that narrative direction. Released two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, it contained poignant laments about income inequality and the effects of rapid gentrification on communities like those in the Bay Area where he grew up.

    Owl Song is the first of three records Akinmusire is releasing on Nonesuch over the next year. Each will spotlight a distinct element of his musical world and involve different instrumentation and production approaches.

    Journal Articles:Album ReleaseArtist News

Enjoy This Post?

Get weekly updates right in your inbox.
terms

X By submitting my information, I agree to receive personalized updates and marketing messages about Nonesuch based on my information, interests, activities, website visits and device data and in accordance with the Privacy Policy. I understand that I can opt-out at any time by emailing privacypolicy@wmg.com.

Thank you!
x

Welcome to Nonesuch's mailing list!

Customize your notifications for tour dates near your hometown, birthday wishes, or special discounts in our online store!
terms

By submitting my information, I agree to receive personalized updates and marketing messages about Nonesuch based on my information, interests, activities, website visits and device data and in accordance with the Privacy Policy. I understand that I can opt-out at any time by emailing privacypolicy@wmg.com.

Related Posts

  • Thursday, February 29, 2024
    Thursday, February 29, 2024

    Girls of the Golden West, John Adams’ eighth music theater work to be released by Nonesuch, is due April 26. The composer leads the LA Phil in this recording made in Disney Hall, with the Los Angeles Master Chorale led by Grant Gershon. You can hear the aria "Wagon Ride," featuring Davóne Tines and Julia Bullock, now. For the opera, which tells the story of the California Gold Rush, longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars drew from original sources from the era—letters, journals, newspaper articles, and familiar song lyrics—to create the libretto. The cast also includes Paul Appleby, Hye Jung Lee, Elliot Madore, Daniela Mack, and Ryan McKinny.

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist News
  • Friday, February 16, 2024
    Friday, February 16, 2024

    The second album from Haitian-American singer and composer Nathalie Joachim, Ki moun ou ye, is out now on Nonesuch / New Amsterdam Records. On the album, Joachim takes listeners through an intimate collection of music that ponders its title’s question: “Who are you?” Inspired by the remote Caribbean farmland that her family continues to call home after seven generations and performed in both English and Haitian Creole, the work examines the richness of one’s voice—an instrument that brings with it DNA, ancestry, and identity—in a vibrant tapestry of Joachim’s voice, and intricately sampled vocal textures underscored by an acoustic instrumental ensemble. "On her dazzling new album," says Bandcamp, "she's found an outlet that allows her to express the full diapason of her interests and creativity." The Quietus exclaims: "Joachim’s powerful voice provides the thread that binds together a glorious tapestry."

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist NewsVideo