Keyon Harrold

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Keyon Harrold is a trumpeter who has been making quite a name for himself in the jazz world over the past few years – The Mugician is his second album under his own name, but he’s also worked with Gregory Porter, Marcus Strickland, David Sanborn, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and a bunch of hip-hop and R&B artists, including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Maxwell, Mary J. Blige and Big K.R.I.T. He was also picked by Robert Glasper and Don Cheadle to be the trumpet player on the soundtrack to the movie Miles Ahead in 2016.

His music is a hybrid sound that combines jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and some really nice string orchestrations. The Mugician is a major artistic statement, one that fits in with the work people like Glasper, Christian Scott, Terrace Martin and others are doing, but is definitely its own thing. At the same time, it extends a long history of jazz musicians engaging with the popular sounds of the time, whether it’s Herbie Hancock embracing funk in the ’70s and hip-hop in the ’80s or trumpet players like Donald Byrd and Eddie Henderson, who made albums that were straight-up disco records but still included some serious blowing.

In this episode, we discuss both of his albums and why he took nine years between them; his work with other musicians; the Miles Ahead experience; his support of Black Lives Matter and his childhood growing up in Ferguson, Missouri; and much more.

Here’s a list of the songs you’ll hear in this episode:

Keyon Harrold, “The Mugician” (The Mugician)

Various Artists, “Junior’s Jam” (Miles Ahead)

Keyon Harrold, “TMF Nuttz” (Introducing Keyon Harrold)

Various Artists, “What’s Wrong With That” (Miles Ahead)

Marcus Strickland, “Sissoko’s Voyage” (Nihil Novi)

Christian Sands, “Frankenstein” (Facing Dragons)

Keyon Harrold, “Ethereal Souls” (The Mugician)