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Keyon Harrold To Play Live at Walcot House
Boundary-breaking, socio-politically conscious musician and one of America’s most exciting trumpet players to perform exclusive show at Walcot House
July 5th 2018 sees the inspirationally talented, Grammy winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold travel to the UK to play an exclusive live show at Walcot House in Bath, 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 Don Cheadle bestowed upon the young virtuoso for his performances in the much-celebrated Miles Davis biopic ‘Miles Ahead’.
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, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Gary Clark, Jr and Robert Glasper to name a few.
Born and raised in Ferguson Missouri, (the St. Louis suburb that gained international attention in 2014 with the police shooting of Michael Brown and the bitter protests and riots 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 liberal arts college The New School. In New York, he landed his first major gig with multi-platinum recording artist, actor and film producer 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, Rihanna and Eminem.
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 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’ and ‘When Will It Stop’, songs written in the wake of Michael Brown’s death and the senseless killings of so many others like him. While Ferguson looms large on The Mugician, it examines our troubled times through a far wider lens than any one tragedy. Issues of identity and equality percolate throughout the record, sometimes subtly beneath the surface, sometimes more pointedly, as in the track ‘Circus Show’, where Harrold and vocalist Gary Clark Jr trade versus and hooks, castigating the desire of America’s current ruling forces to build a ‘crazy wall’ against the refrain, ‘what’s going on?’
A vibrant range of some of America’s best musicans add to the record’s eclectic nature, but ultimately The Mugician triumphs as a unified, cohesive whole, because of Harrold’s virtuosic skill as a trumpeter and songwriter and because of his relentlessly optimistic belief in brighter days to come.
Now audiences in Bath will be able to experience the magic of Keyon Harrold’s and his band’s performance in a live setting, at one of the country’s most stylish music and entertainment venues. His forthcoming live show will be a rare chance to witness a sonic extravaganza from one of the most talented musicians of his generation.