Boundary-breaking, socially-conscious musician and one of America’s most exciting trumpet players to perform exclusive UK shows
April 9th to the 13th 2018 sees the inspirationally talented, award-winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold travel to the UK to play five live shows in Huddersfield, Manchester, Leeds, London and Southampton, in support of his recent album The Mugician. A portmanteau of ‘musician’ and ‘magician’,the album’s title is a nod to the nickname that the critically-acclaimed actor/director Don Cheadle bestowed upon the young virtuoso for his compositions and performances as the voice of the trumpet in the much celebrated and Grammy Award-winning Miles Davis biopic ‘MilesAhead’.
Sweeping and cinematic, Harrold’s music draws on elements of jazz, classical, rock, blues, and hip hop to create something uniquely modern and unmistakably American. Guests on The Mugician include Pharoahe Monch, Big KRIT, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Gary Clark, Jr and Robert Glasper to name a few.
Born and raised in Ferguson Missouri, (infamous for birthing the internationally-recognized Black LivesMatter Movement after the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown and the bitter protests that followed), Harrold grew up one of 16 children in a family that prioritised music and community across generations. At 18, he left Ferguson to enrol in NYC’s most prestigious jazz program at The New School. In New York, he landed his first major gig with multi-platinum Grammy and Academy Award-winning artist, actor and activist Common, an experience which he says broadened his musical horizons beyond jazz to include funk, Afrobeat, R&B, and hip hop. Soon after this he became the go-to trumpet player for a whole host of stars including Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Beyonce, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Rihanna and Eminem not to mention jazz artists such as Billy Harper, Charles Tolliver, Andrew Hill and Gregory Porter. Hailed by Rolling Stone in 2017 as one of the top ten new artists to watch, Harrold’s time as a frontman had come,
The Mugician pushes beyond the traditional boundaries of jazz trumpet. It is an album that celebrates the importance of family (ten of Keyon’s siblings appear on the record) and the absolute necessity of optimism in the face of darkness and doubt. The album opens with ‘Voicemail,’ which features an unedited, authentic and inspirational message from Harrold’s mother, set to a stirring, orchestral soundscape. Later, he focuses on the next generation, paying tribute to his own son with ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Bubba Rides Again’.
Some of the album’s most powerful moments come with the one-two punch of ‘MB Lament’, written by Harrold in the wake of Mike Brown’s death and senseless killings, and, a broader reflection on the many “isms” that plague America ‘When Will It Stop’, a collaboration written with famed St. Louis comedian Guy Torry. While Ferguson looms large on The Mugician, it examines our troubled times through a far wider lens than any one tragedy. Issues of identity andequality percolate throughout the record, sometimes subtly beneath the surface, sometimes more pointedly, as in the now-popular track ‘Circus Show’, written in collaboration with singer/songwriter Andrea Pizziconi, where Harrold and vocalist Gary Clark Jr trade versus and hooks, castigating the desire of America’s current ruling political forces to build a ‘crazy wall’, eliminate healthcare, or round up tax-paying immigrants against the refrain, ‘What the hell’s going on?’
A vibrant range of some of America’s best musicians add to the record’s eclectic nature, but ultimately The Mugician triumphs as a unified, cohesive whole, because of Harrold’s virtuosic skills as a trumpeter and songwriter and because of his relentlessly optimistic belief in brighter days to come.
Now UK audiences can experience Keyon Harrold’s emotionally raw ‘mugik’ live, at some of the country’s most stylish music venues from Band on the Wall in Manchester to the Jazz Café in London and Turner Sims in Southampton. Special guests will include, among others, the hotly-tipped pianist Ashley Henry of the RE:ensemble, and broadcaster, journalist, Worldwide FM DJ and all round jazz champion Tina Edwards who will be warming up the vibes on the turntables with her choice selection of cuts. Keyon Harrold’s forthcoming live shows will be a rare chance to witness a sonic extravaganza from one of the most talented musicians of his generation.
UK TOUR DATES:
9th April The Northen Quarter HUDDERSFIELD
10th April Band On The Wall MANCHESTER
11th April Brudenell Social Club LEEDS
12th April The Jazz Café LONDON
13th April Turner Sims SOUTHAMPTON