KEYON HARROLD | Love Supreme Festival

Keyon Harrold carries a natural swagger that is not misplaced: he’s a compelling communicator and commanding trumpeter.  The message at the heart of his performance is the struggle against injustice, with particular empowerment of the Black Lives Matter movement.  The medium is hip-hop grooves, jazz explorations and intermittent reggae jams, with Harrold’s blistering trumpet lines remaining tightly in focus throughout.  The intensity is unwavering and steadfast.  Harrold burns a political and musical torch that carries a natural, and certainly not unwelcome, comparison to Christian Scott.

The set is comprised of tracks from his latest EP, The Mugician (a not wholly convincing portmanteau of musician and magician).   The magic of the performance is the accomplishment of a quintet that resonates as both accomplished and raw, the seeking of new challenges whilst not shunning a grooving ostinato to swirl through the audience.  The most fearsome of growling cadences cap most melodies, Harrold’s figure hunched and channeling protest.

Love Supreme bears a distinctly family-friendly tone, so it’s apt that Harrold’s set opens with a recorded voicemail from his mother and closes with a gritty funk number dedicated to his son, Bubba Rides Again.  For all Harrold’s music may push and search, a quote from Gershwin’s Summertime hidden in MB Lament is a tugging reminder that the music and its message are closely embodied in the blues and all it stands for: hope in the face of adversity.

Read all of our reviews from Love Supreme 2018, here.

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