Andrew Cyrille & Ambrose Akinmusire
Two outstanding talents from separate generations—one who laid the groundwork for free jazz in the twentieth century and one who broke new ground for the entire genre in the twenty-first—converge at Big Ears, and the possibilities are unimaginable in scope.
“At 81, Andrew Cyrille has probably forgotten more than most drummers have ever learned,” The Guardian said. Starting with the likes of Coleman Hawkins in the fifties and then writing the new language of free jazz with Cecil Taylor in the sixties—all as a prelude to a long and distinguished career as a drummer and bandleader—Cyrille has earned such laurels as even the most driven musical genius might be tempted to rest on. Yet his latest quartet record, The News (which reunites him with guitarist Bill Frisell and keyboardist Ben Street from 2016’s The Declaration of Musical Independence), ranks “right up there among ECM Records’ entrancing understatements.”
Though trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is half Cyrille’s age, their like minds are plain to see in their uncompromising artistry and relentless exploration. A Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition winner who went on to the Monk Institute where he studied with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter has been called “the most distinctive, elusive, and ultimately satisfying trumpeter of his generation” by The New York Times, Akinmusire is building a body of work on Blue Note in which jazz, hip-hop, classical, and the spoken word are fusing into a holistic personal vision of music beyond orthodoxy. The Times called 2011’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening a contemporary classic, and 2020’s On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment was nominated for a Grammy, but Akinmusire’s musical voice speaks most profoundly for itself.