Enjoy a one-on-one conversation with Keyon Harrold and Michael Fagien. Together, they cover everything from jazz, family, race and politics that’s both positive, upbeat and reflective of this trumpeter’s future.
Despite having nearly a hundred recording sessions under his belt — including work with top-tier pop stars — trumpeter Keyon Harrold is still relatively unknown outside of music-industry circles. But that might soon change with the emergence of The Mugician, Harrold’s first release as a leader since debuting in 2009 with the straightahead outing Introducing Keyon Harrold. (Mugician — a portmanteau of “magician” and “musician” — is the nickname that Don Cheadle bestowed on Harrold while working on Miles Ahead, the 2015 movie in which Cheadle starred as Miles Davis and for which Harrold recorded Davis’ trumpet parts.) A stylistic shift is evident from the opening track, a pensive, gracefully swelling orchestral piece of music that underscores a recording of Harrold’s mother leaving her son a motivational voicemail. From there, Harrold proceeds through a range of original material, which includes elements of jazz, rap, rock and reggae. On a handful of tunes, guest vocalists sing peaceful lyrics that exemplify the album’s focus on contemporary sociopolitical concerns. With the assistance of his own band and several additional guests — including Robert Glasper, bluesman Gary Clark, Jr. and 10 of Harrold’s siblings — the trumpeter shines brightly throughout.
Intro music: “Kickin’ It” by Jeff Lorber