This is number seven in a series of posts about my musical year in 2018. Today, I talk about something by Ambrose Akinmusire.

Like many people, I’m not aware of what’s happening on the contemporary jazz scene. Nor am I likely to tell you whether a given song was released fifty years or fifty days ago. I acknowledge that this is a roundabout way of saying that most jazz sounds the same to me, though having said that, ‘miracle and streetfight’ definitely sounds new. I’m a sucker for indulgence, to watch where an artist may go when they’re told to go anywhere. Ambrose Akinmusire’s jazz is like his rap lyrics, Beat-like in its structure, a poetry slam with smart stream-of-consciousness. It starts off with a drum solo, which to my untrained ears sounds like a feast. Over the course of 15 minutes, rap vocals, drums, trumpets, violins both pulled and plucked, vie for attention. Every once in a while, a synth bomb of bass explodes. In fact, I can’t say it’s jazz with 100% conviction, but I’m not sure the name matters at all. 

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