Ambrose Akinmusire

There are a number of musicians out there who are positively impacting jazz music. Their very presence reminds listeners that America’s music is far from dead, and their sonic creativity is pushing the bounds of the music into places it never dreamed of being.emmanuel-garcia-uvm-Ambrose_Akinmusire_2011

In the next few posts, we’ll be introducing readers to contemporary musicians they ought to know. Of course, there may be some bias towards trumpeters, but we’ll get to other players, too!

First up is Ambrose Akinmusire. The Oakland native has been recognized as one of the most talented and promising trumpeters of his generation. Among his accolades are being the winner of the Thelonious Monk Int’l Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

Akinmusire’s professional experience dates back to his days in high school, when he was hired as a band member for saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and earned a Master’s Degree from USC.

After his schooling, his career really took off. He moved to New York, and began playing with a number of notable musicians including Esperanza Spalding, Vijay Iyer, and most recently, Kendrick Lamar.

In his three studio albums (not counting those where he is a sideman), you can easily pick out Akinmusire’s contemplative tone. It’s not what you’d describe as “angry”, but it is absent the bright tone many have come to expect from popular trumpeters. During his solos, it sometimes sounds as if he is playing just beneath a glass ceiling. He’ll take you to the edge, but rarely breakthrough. This is particularly evident on “The Beauty of Dissolving Portraits”, from his most recent studio album The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint.

In this particular piece, the band creates a tension that only amplifies this feeling.

Other times, he’ll delight in manipulating sound and allow it to lapse into frantic dialogue between bandmates, like in “The Walls of Lechuguilla” from When the Heart Emerges

He’s only in his mid-30’s, and will be sticking around for some time!

from Emmanuel Garcia


‘So What’ Analysis

Great insight!

Architectures of Music

“So What” from Kind of Blue (Miles Davis, 1959)
Kind of Blue
  • Best selling jazz album of all time
  • Considered one of the most influential jazz albums of all time (impacts jazz, rock & classical)
  • Features: Miles Davis (trumpet), Bill Evans (piano), Jimmy Cobb (drums), Paul Chambers (bass), John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto saxophone).

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New Single: Gregory Porter – Don’t Lose Your Steam

New Single: Gregory Porter – Don’t Lose Your Steam


Gregory Porter 2016_low

Jazz and Soul singer Gregory Porter released new single ‘Don’t Lose Your Steam’ today a song of encouragement to his 3 year old son Demyan.

Speaking exclusively to Chris Evans on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Gregory talked about his inspiration for writing the song.

“I write when I’m on planes, trains and automobiles” be began “in a way when I’m away from the people I love, my family, my son, I think about the energy, that twinge of pain that happens from being away from them. So I think of them, consider them, always think about mother, the places that I love, inspiration from places that I visit – all of that comes into my music. This song (Don’t Lose Your Steam) is about my son, the energy and legacy that I want to give him to have him carry on throughout his life – Don’t lose your…

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1971 Miles Davis A Tribute to Jack Johnson

David's music review site

Why don’t people ever recommend this to newcomers of Jazz? When people ask what Miles album should I buy? And most people are told about Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew.  You should tell them about this album and save them the time.  Released right in the middle of his celebrated jazz-rock period, Jack Johnson is unquestionably the Miles album that I would recommend to anyone wanting to venture into Jazz.

Whatever the case may be, these songs are the closest thing to pure rock n’ roll that Miles Davis ever attempted … and I for one feel a great loss that that the man never saw fit to explore this side of himself, or allow others to move him in that direction.  On Right Off, bassist Michael Henderson, who grooves like I’ve never heard a jazz bassist groove before, sets the pace for drummer Billy Cobham, who plays the…

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Tuesday, March 8th

music clip of the day

sounds of joy

Tenor saxophonists Arnett Cobb (1918-1989; 00:44-), Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (1922-1986; 02:32-), Johnny Griffin (1928-2008; 04:34-), “Lester Leaps In” (L. Young), live, Netherlands (Laren), 1984



reading table

Even in the midst of trials and tribulations we still have joy.

—Pastor Norvel Goff, Sr., Sunday service, Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, S.C., 2015 (New Yorker, 9/28/15)

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(March 8, 2016): The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Three’s A Crowd

Once Was A Note

From the 1962 album, Countdown: Time In Outer Space.   An LP dedicated to the Mercury 7 mission by Lieut. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr.  The classic quartet here: Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Joe Morello, and Eugene Wright.  This song, and three others on the album, were previously written for Brubeck’s 1956 ballet “Maiden in the Tower”.

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