Ambrose Akinmusire at the Regattabar
Buy Tickets - $20.00
Featuring: Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
Walter Smith III, sax
Sam Harris, piano
Harish Raghavan, bass
Justin Brown, drums
By the time the lone standard "What’s New?" arrives with a wink 11 tracks into trumpeter-composer Ambrose Akinmusire's tour de force Blue Note debut When The Heart Emerges Glistening, the song's title has become a rhetorical question. The unneeded answer: Everything. Akinmusire has delivered nothing less than a manifesto, a Search for the New Land, a personal statement of such clarity and vision that it’s bound to turn heads around towards this startlingly fresh young talent.
The Los Angeles Times recently named Akinmusire one of their 2011 "Faces to Watch," and offered this descriptive of the quintet’s recent LA performance: "Akinmusire and his band demonstrated a remarkably fluid, adventurous interplay and patiently imaginative way with melody that sounded as steeped in the music's history as it was hard-wired with the sound of something new. With a chameleonic tone that can sigh, flutter or soar, Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered."
The discovery of Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee) has been a slow and steady process. Born and raised in Oakland, California, it was as a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble that Akinmusire first caught the attention of a discerning ear. Saxophonist Steve Coleman was visiting the school to give a workshop and immediately heard promise in the young trumpeter, eventually hiring him as a member of his Five Elements band and embarking on an extensive European tour when Akinmusire was just 19.
2007 was a pivotal year for Akinmusire. He entered and won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition from a panel of judges that included Blanchard, Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela, Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove. That year he also won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and released his debut recording Prelude…To Cora on the Fresh Sound New Talent label. He moved back to New York City and began performing with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding, and Jason Moran, taking part in Moran’s innovative multimedia concert event In My Mind: Monk At Town Hall, 1957. It was also during this time that he first caught the attention of another discerning set of ears, those of Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records.
Lundvall signed Akinmusire, and in September 2010 the trumpeter brought his quintet into Brooklyn Studios to begin recording. Bringing Moran on board as co-producer was a natural choice. "Over the years not only has he been a musician and an artist that I've looked up to but he's been one of the most blunt and honest people I've ever met in my life, and I just wanted that type of energy in the studio," explains Akinmusire. "He's also one of the few musicians that on every record he's given 100% and that's what I was striving for. He's the guy that people of my generation really look up to right now. I think knowing that he was in the control booth made everyone play harder and reach for things that we maybe would not have reached for."
"When The Heart Emerges Glistening refers to being present, emotionally invested, honest—not exclusively in our art, but in every act of expression," Akinmusire says in explaining the album's title. "It's about parting our chests to reveal ourselves to one another and to ourselves, to reflect honestly the ‘everything’ of us—the ugly, the changing, the vulnerable, the fierce, the solid, the safe. The heart ‘glistens’ because it is wet, it is fresh. With every act of expression, it is a newly excavated heart, so that through listening closely, we are ultimately chronicling every present moment, and constantly re-examining our changing selves. In bearing ourselves this way, we connect more deeply with one another. The many sides of the album itself are a testament to our complexity and uniqueness as individuals, and the imperative to bare and explore honestly every coexisting side of us."