Ambrose Akinmusire follows his acclaimed, genre-busting best-of-2018 manifesto Origami Harvest with another visionary statement on his new album On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, which finds the trumpeter examining blackness on an uncompromising set of modern jazz laced with a heavy feeling of the blues. The album presents 11 new compositions by Akinmusire and features his quartet with pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown plus guest vocals from Genevieve Artadi and Jesus Diaz.
With On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, Akinmusire not only asserts himself as one of the best trumpeters in the world, he's using his voice to dissect the complexity of black life in America. Yet he isn't trying to summon gloom, he's unpacking it all. Through his trumpet comes the breath of a black man who's seen the best and worst of the country, and harnesses it into 49 minutes of gorgeous, shape-shifting art. It continues a theme first established on his first Blue Note album, 2011's When The Heart Emerges Glistening. "In a way, I was thinking about this as a sequel to my first record [on the label]," Akinmusire says. "I'm returning to the landmarks in my first album."
Much like his previous work, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment unpacks the feeling of "otherness" and what that means in a country with such a fraught racial history. In that way, it resembles Origami Harvest and 2014's The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint. But where those records seethed, this one simmers; Akinmusire examines the past with pondering eyes and not a furrowed brow.
180-gram vinyl LP in gatefold packaging.
- Tide of Hyacinth
- Cynical Sideliners
- Mr. Roscoe (Consider the Simultaneous)
- An Interlude (That Get' More Intense)
- Reset (Quiet Victories & Celebrated Defeats)
- Moon (The Return Amplifies The Unity)
- Blues (We Measure the Heart with a Fist)
- Hooded Procession (Read the Names Outloud)