Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

452

Ambrose Akinmusire: Prelude: to Cora

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
New visions and colorful dreams emanate from the horn and pen of trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. You would expect the first place winner of the 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition to come out with his horn a-blazing, voraciously showing his chops. While he does have the honored award and sharpened abilities, his debut recording, Prelude: to Cora, is one that walks quietly yet carries a huge stick of inspiring, focused and enlightened music that is well beyond his youthful expectations.

Like his contemporaries (pianist Robert Glasper, drummer Kendrick Scott and guitarist Mike Moreno), Akinmusire draws inspiration not just within the jazz continuum, but also from his environment: urban and classical persuasions, historical reflection and socially conscious motivation. An example is heard on the audacious opening piece "Dreams of the Manbahsniese"—with its construction and execution of melody, the instrument arrangements, classically trained voice by singer Junko Watanabe and the coloring of electronics. It's a conglomeration of new sounds for a new millennium.

All of the music was composed by Akinmusire, with the exception of three tracks, including the lone standard "Stablemates" by saxophonist Benny Golson. Instead of the obligatory hip-funk-swing session, the compositions are well-thought-out and thought-provoking. There are riveting pieces like Aaron Parks' "Ghost Ship," where Akinmusire's warm tone exudes both melancholy and optimism; or the haunting, cinematic vastness of "M.I.S.T.A.G. (My Inappropriate Soundtrack to a Genocide)," with soul-wrenching voice and wailing horns.

Though Akinmusire has burning chops (touches of Clifford Brown, Tomasz Stanko and Terence Blanchard), he altruistically shares his light with the other musicians, purposed towards the larger musical picture and revealing his quiet leadership.

And speaking of the band, Akinmusire is also joined by other young newcomers who donate stimulating performances. Chris Dingman's chilled vibe work highlights the soulful "Aroca," while Walter Smith and Logan Richardson create fiery sax exchanges on "Dingmandingo." Aaron Parks, another bright pianist, joins Akinmusire in a wonderful duo on the swinging "Stablemates," both showing brilliance and a respect to the jazz masters of the past. Last, but surely not forgotten, is the stalwart (and lively) foundation of bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown. This is an exceptional debut from an unassuming yet extremely talented new voice.

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).

Title: Prelude: to Cora | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "In The Green Castle" CD/LP/Track Review In The Green Castle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "J.I.G.E.N" CD/LP/Track Review J.I.G.E.N
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017