Here's a solo photo from what may have been the greatest photo shoot ever: for Ahamefule J. Oluo's recent album/show "Now I'm Fine". Aham, composer, trumpeter, stand-up comedian, writer and colleague par excellence, put together a stunning collection of his own music and darkly comedic stand-up material with vocalist Okanomodé and an ensemble of some of Seattle's finest musicians - sort of a big band plus strings.
I first met Aham a few years ago through our mutual colleague Brianna Atwell, whose support work arranging and engraving sheet music is running in the background of a surprisingly huge number of Seattle projects. She's also a terrific violist. We did a piece with Okanomodé called Luci's Lamb, and if you're lucky you'll be able to find some clips of it on the Internet. I was struck by just how tremendously open and supportive Aham is - yes, he is digging deep for his own material, but he wants you to do that, too. That is a very, very big deal in this music profession we call our home.
Aham is also a member of my favorite band ever, Industrial Revelation, that makes the future of jazz look deliciously rosy. I must quote from the November 2014 Earshot Jazz Publication:
"This year’s winner of The Stranger’s Genius Award is a perfect frame for the cross-genre, cross-generation, cross-racial, cross-economic, ever-morphing magic that Industrial Revelation continues to create. The soaring amalgam of jazz, hiphop, indie rock, punk, and soul, is seamless, substantial, and enormously entertaining. The genius of this band is honest, open, and uncalculated. People dance at these jazz concerts!"
I highly recommend that you catch one of their live performances.
I had been dreaming about having trumpet in The Ballad of Ishtar, and one day I realized that Aham was obviously the musician who had to be in the show. He brings an edge-of-your-seat verve to his playing on the one hand, and simply exquisite phrasing on the other. I am so delighted to be collaborating with him.
You can find out more about him on his website.
Here's a gorgeous tune from Industrial Revelation:
And an awesome tune from Now I'm Fine: