TREFOIL: Ambrose Akinmusire, Kris Davis, and Gerald Cleaver
Ambrose Akinmusire / Kris Davis / Gerald Cleaver
Friday, March 18, 2022
8:00 PM
  • Performance

Benjamin Franklin Hall
(American Philosophical Society)
427 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA
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Program Info

$25 General Admission
All Ages

  • Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet
  • Kris Davis – piano
  • Gerald Cleaver – drums

Please join us for a very special performance by an all-star trio of modern jazz luminaries featuring trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Kris Davis and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

This new trio brings together three of the most innovative and forward-thinking artists shaping the landscape of jazz today. “Clearly something very special and personal is at work here,” wrote the Los Angeles Times about Akinmusire, though the sentiment could apply equally to all three of these remarkable musicians. “A vision of jazz that’s bigger than camps, broader and more intellectually restless than blowing sessions.”

Presented by Ars Nova Workshop, this live performance will take place at The American Philosophical Society’s Benjamin Franklin Hall (Philadelphia), on Friday, March 18, 2022.

About the Artists

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire has paradoxically situated himself in both the center and the periphery of jazz, most recently emerging in classical and hip hop circles. He’s on a perpetual quest for new paradigms, masterfully weaving inspiration from other genres, arts, and life in general into compositions that are as poetic and graceful as they are bold and unflinching. Akinmusire has also received numerous prestigious composer commissions; created music for film and television projects including the new Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal series “Blindspotting”; appeared as a featured soloist with the legendary artists Archie Shepp and Roscoe Mitchell; and made signal contributions to groundbreaking albums including Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl, Brad Mehldau’s Finding Gabriel and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (on the closing track “Mortal Man”). He also played on Joni Mitchell’s 2014 release Love Has Many Faces, and in 2018 accompanied Chaka Khan, James Taylor and other luminaries honoring Mitchell in a gala concert documented on Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration. Other sideman highlights include Jack DeJohnette, Marcus Miller, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Coleman and many others.

Pianist-composer Kris Davis was named 2017 Rising Star Pianist/2018 Rising Star Artist in Downbeat magazine and dubbed one of the music’s top up-and-comers in a 2012 New York Times article titled “New Pilots at the Keyboard,” with the newspaper saying: “One method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis.” To date, Davis has released twelve recordings as leader. Her 2016 release, Duopoly, made The New York Times, Pop Matters, NPR, LA Times, and Jazz Times best albums of 2016. Davis works as a collaborator and side person with artists such as John Zorn, Terri Lyne Carrington, Craig Taborn, Tyshawn Sorey, Julian Lage, Mary Halvorson and Tom Rainey. Davis received a Doris Duke Impact award in 2015 and multiple commissions to compose new works from The Shifting Foundation, The Jazz Gallery/Jerome Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is the Associate Program Director of Creative Development for the Institute Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music.

Raised in Detroit, drummer Gerald Cleaver is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. Inspired by his father, drummer John Cleaver, he began playing at an early age. As a teenager he gained invaluable experience playing with Detroit jazz masters Ali Muhammad Jackson, Lamont Hamilton, Earl Van Riper, and Pancho Hagood. Cleaver has performed or recorded with Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Craig Taborn, among others.

Cover: Ambrose Akinmusire. Photo courtesy of Music Works International.