Ambrose Akinmusire: The man with the horn

Ambrose Akinmusire COURTESY PHOTO

Jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, just 38 years old, is on the cusp of global fame, thanks to his efforts and talent. His fifth album, “on the tender spot of every calloused moment,” was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award as Best Jazz Instrumental Album and was named as one of the top 20 jazz albums of 2020 by Jazzwise magazine. Released as a CD on the Blue Note label in June 2020 and on vinyl in August, the recording is singular due to its varying depths. Consistent with Akinmusire’s oeuvre to date, the album takes in the harsh and mellow sounds of the culture and puts them through the highly personal, creative and musically skilled instrument he wields. As his website notes: “He’s on a perpetual quest for new paradigms, masterfully weaving inspiration from other genres, arts and life in general into compositions that are as poetic and graceful as they are bold and unflinching.”

The Banner caught up with Akinmusire from his home in Oakland, California.

Banner: For those unfamiliar with your new album, can you say a few words about its development and theme?

Ambrose Akinmusire: It features my working band. We’ve been a unit about 10 years. Justin Brown, the drummer, and I have played together over 20 years. Sam Harris, the
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