On Prelude: to Cora, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire offers a wide-open musical perspective, inviting a wealth of influences to shape a personalized approach to improvisation and composition. Akinmusire seems content with allowing the music to fall where it may; eschewing trends and any pre-conceived notions about what is expected from a debut recording.
The Oakland, California-native generously shares the spotlight with his ensemble of like-minded collaborators. Pianist Aaron Parks, vibraphonist Chris Dingman, tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown each bring a voice of distinction, leading the way for much of the session. Brown's beat-box-meets-Tony Williams fury on the opening "Dreams of the Manbahsniese" is a fascinating contrast to Akinmusire's flowing theme. Dingman is downright hypnotic on "Vibe Solo Intro" and "Aroca." Parks demonstrates imaginative solos and contributes the pop-influenced tune "Ghost Ship."
Although Akinmusire's trumpet playing is not the primary focus here, there is plenty of space allotted for the leader's acrobatic blowing. The spontaneity and forcefulness on "HumSong (Skidrow Anthem)" balances nicely with the more melancholic "Trumpet Intro/Dedication to Ruby." The young trumpeter's straight-ahead chops are showcased on Benny Golson's "Stablemates," performed as a duet with Parks.
Prelude: to Cora is so full of unbound creativity, it will be interesting to see what this emerging artist has in store for the jazz world.
Track Listing: Dreams of the Manbahsniese; Vibe Solo Intro; Aroca; HumSong (SkidRow Anthem);
M.I.S.T.A.G. (My Inappropriate Soundtrack to a Genocide);
Trumpet Intro/Dedication to Ruby; Ruby; Ghost Ship; Dingmandingo; Stablemates.
Personnel: Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Aaron Parks: piano; Chris Dingman: vibes; Walter Smith III: tenor saxophone; Joe Sanders: bass; Justin Brown: drums;
Logan Richardson: alto saxophone (5, 9); Junko Watanabe: vocals (1, 5, 7).
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.