427

Abram Wilson: Life Paintings

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Abram Wilson: Life Paintings
Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas but brought up in New Orleans, where he studied at the Center for Creative Artists—alma mater of fellow trumpeters Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton—Abram Wilson relocated to London in 2002. In 2003 he signed to Dune Records, the recording and management home for a number of significant, London-based, black artists. Life Paintings is his third album for the label.

Wilson's previous disc, Ride! Ferris Wheel To The Modern Day Delta (Dune, 2007), was an ambitious, with-vocals, concept affair featuring a 10-piece band and telling the story of a young man's journey through jazz and hip hop, learning some tough lessons on the way but ultimately finding meaning in his life. Life Paintings is a stripped down, purely instrumental album on which Wilson fronts an acoustic quartet.

The context fits Wilson like a hand-stitched glove, allowing his open-belled, in-the-tradition trumpet to shine center stage. Composed entirely of originals, it's a set on which Wilson's affection for, and reference to, his New Orleans roots is enriched by his own playful approach to writing and improvisation. He's propelled by a hard swinging rhythm section which also includes in pianist Peter Edwards an eloquent second soloist.

The 10 tunes were, apparently, conceived like a collection of pictures portraying different aspects of human experience; which suggests, perhaps, a greater variety of material than is actually contained. Most of the tracks are up-tempo, splattered with growls, smears and blue notes, and are almost unfailingly positive in mood. "Obama," written to celebrate the election of the US's first black president, is among the best, its martial introduction by drummer Graham Godfrey (who solos briefly but excitingly on "Rush Hour"), soon giving way to a joyful stomp.

Wilson's playfulness is winningly expressed on "Rainbows And Fantasies" and "Chasing Mosquito Hawks." The two tunes are intended as snapshots of childhood, and their energy is complemented by a sense of fun conveyed by teetering, Charlie Chaplin- esque, piano motifs supporting the main themes. "Even Though You're Bad For Me" is a slow ballad reminiscent of Hoagy Carmichael's "Star Dust."

Life Paintings doesn't cover ground that hasn't already been well trodden—but it digs deep and it digs with conviction.

Track Listing

From Dusk 'Til Dawn; Rainbows And Fantasies; Even Though You're Bad For Me; Obama; The Eyes Of Belladonna; Snake In The Grass; Chasing Mosquito Hawks; Kiss And Make Up; Rush Hour; Breaking Point.

Personnel

Abram Wilson: trumpet; Peter Edwards: piano; Karl Rasheed-Abel: bass; Graham Godfrey: drums.

Album information

Title: Life Paintings | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Dune

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read End Of Summer
End Of Summer
Espen Eriksen Trio
Read Facing Duality
Facing Duality
Maria Baptist and Jan von Klewitz
Read Stateless
Stateless
Tashi Dorji

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.