Jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire goes his own way
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If there’s a breakout story for jazz in 2011, the rise of Oakland-born trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire would have to be considered the leading candidate.
A gifted young artist who received his master’s at USC and won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2007, expectations ran high for his debut on Blue Note Records, which was co-produced by label-mate and friend Jason Moran after a brief tour last fall.
Fortunately for jazz fans, Akinmusire’s album lives up to the hype. An entrancing mix of atmospheric post-bop seeded with warm ensemble playing and Akinmusire’s expressive, shape-shifting tone, ‘When the Heart Emerges Glistening’ doesn’t sound like anyone else in jazz, a byproduct of an artist dedicated to following his own path.
In an feature running this Sunday in advance of his Playboy Jazz Festival appearance next weekend, Akinmusire talks about his music, his process and the many directions he could turn next, including a planned move back to the West Coast after years immersed in the New York scene.
‘I don’t know, man, New York is great, you can go out and hear great music at any time. But that’s not all there is to life,’ he said. ‘I want to be happy, I want to be close to my family, I want to eat healthy food ... I want to be sensitive to humans and the human condition. I just recognize how New York is really sort of dehumanizing me -- that sounds so dramatic!’ he added with a laugh.
-- Chris Barton