Roy Campbell is a jazz trumpeter and composer of the first order, one who encompasses the tradition even as he pushes the music forward. A founding member of the luminous collective Other Dimensions In Music and a member of Marc Ribot’s recent Spiritual Unity project, his last album as a nominal leader (2001’s Ethnic Stew and Brew with William Parker and Hamid Drake) topped countless year-end Top 10 lists. The well-traveled trumpeter has long been a sonic frontiersman, embracing the universality of a sound continuum in which the Harlembound A Train and the majestic River Nile are moonlit reflections of each other. His stellar combo Pyramid Trio has devoted three albums to improvised explorations of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. So it’s only natural that Campbell would turn his hand to a full-on composition inspired by Amenhotep IV, Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. Akhenaten Suite, specially commissioned for and recorded live at the 2007 Vision Festival, is a splendid passage to a fabled dimension. It is realized by musicians who have an intimate affiliation with Campbell’s vibrant brass stylings and wonderfully open, expansive compositions. The ensemble’s richly textured palette provides a kaleidoscopic tapestry for Campbell’s bursting runs of notes and graceful, curving lines.
“Roy Campbell growls like Ellingtonian Cootie Williams, erupts into long sprinting lines and funky blues inflections that would do Lee Morgan proud, and peppers his solos with free-jazz smears and abstract sounds.” — Boston Phoenix
“Roy Campbell exemplifies the type of originality acoustic players should strive for even when celebrating the tradition … Campbell’s passion seems contagious, inspiring heartfelt solos from his side men.” — Jazziz
“The genius of [Other Dimensions In Music] is how it embraces the open forms and fluid dynamics advanced by avant-gardists while imbuing the music with what James Brown would call soul power.” — Playboy