When Keyon Harrold lists the influences he drew on in the creation of his rich and atmospheric new album “Foreverland,” (released in January 2024), he names Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, Fela Kuti, John Coltrane, and for a second he becomes vulnerable—the list is too basic, too serious, a music listening starter pack. But in that moment of uncertainty, he gives an indelible flex: "You are what you eat, and I'm on a pretty strict diet of dope shit."
Looking at Harrold's career to date, it's clear that the "world-class trumpeter" (Essence) and composer is very serious about this diet. A jazz musician in the broadest sense, he works with a range of dream collaborators: generational legends Keith Richards and Diana Ross, rap stars like Mac Miller and Nas, neo-soul icons Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, and modern Soul stars Black Pumas and Leon Bridges. His regular collaborators include his mentor Common (who hired him for his first tour), his New School classmate Robert Glasper, and GRAMMY winners Maxwell, PJ Morton, Gregory Porter and YEBBA.
Added to this is his extensive touring and recording work with pop greats Jay-Z and Beyonce. And while it may be lazy to compare Harrold to Miles Davis, the connection is a little more apt than at first glance: Harrold provided all the trumpet playing in Don Cheadle's GRAMMY-winning Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead” and played to match Cheadle's performances in the film.
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