First Listen: Prodigy Curtis Olawumi makes "Atlanta" glow

(April 26, 2020) When does a musician become a professional musician? Well, it depends on the person and the circumstance. Some make the transition to professional musician after years of formal study. Others, after years of woodshedding and on the job training in churches, high school and garage bands, come to the realization that they’ve become skilled enough to play or sing for their supper.

There is no set age. For example, it could be argued that trumpeter Curtis Olawumi has been a professional musician since the age of 12. That’s when Olawumi joined the Atlanta based jazz, fusion band Audio Wolf as a trumpeter who also played drums and piano. Now 18, Olawumi has shared the stage and been mentored by familiar names to anyone who has been on this site, including Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Eric Roberson.

(April 26, 2020) When does a musician become a professional musician? Well, it depends on the person and the circumstance. Some make the transition to professional musician after years of formal study. Others, after years of woodshedding and on the job training in churches, high school and garage bands, come to the realization that they’ve become skilled enough to play or sing for their supper.

There is no set age. For example, it could be argued that trumpeter Curtis Olawumi has been a professional musician since the age of 12. That’s when Olawumi joined the Atlanta based jazz, fusion band Audio Wolf as a trumpeter who also played drums and piano. Now 18, Olawumi has shared the stage and been mentored by familiar names to anyone who has been on this site, including Julie Dexter, Rhonda Thomas and Eric Roberson.

A music major who is on full scholarship at Tennessee State University, Olawumi’s talent attracted the attention of Downbeat Magazine, and he is hard at work on his first album that includes the fusion track “Atlanta Beltline.” The song contains some advanced improvisational creativity along with nods toward contemporary R&B and hip-hop arrangements that show the Olawumi spent some time studying modern jazz lions such as Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington.

Olawumi’s Bandcamp page describes “Atlanta Beltline” as “the soundtrack for taking a stroll down a vibrant pathway through Atlanta Communities (Atlanta Beltline). The music captures the colors, sights, and sounds of our rich and diverse city.” Check “Atlanta Beltline” out here.

By Howard Dukes

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