Ambrose Akinmusire, On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment

Some albums have a weight and a dignity to them whether intended or not and certainly this new album from Ambrose Akinmusire has both attributes. The trumpeter has something to say on all these tracks and I suppose it is mood and space he is so …

Published: 14 Jun 2020. Updated: 21 days.

Some albums have a weight and a dignity to them whether intended or not and certainly this new album from Ambrose Akinmusire has both attributes. The trumpeter has something to say on all these tracks and I suppose it is mood and space he is so masterful at providing, all that and his incredibly pure trumpet sound, a big range and when he penetrates the really high regions he manages not just to middle every note but to find an interpretative voice, like an actor finds a new character and that is why there is so much drama to his work with his longstanding band, drummer Justin Brown, pianist Sam Harris and bassist Harish Raghavan.

He is a tragedian. In that mask there is a life wisdom and you get that on this important record. To pick one tiny detail that enlarges to reveal a vista: 'Roy' like a hymn is gorgeous. It is a tribute to Roy Hargrove and like the whole record knows the meaning of the blues and yet it's the blues you've never heard in your life before and works on so many different levels, often a highly avant garde statement yet delivered by using a communicative method expressed through the discipline of improvisation inherent in the freedom and DNA of jazz, that thing about hurt, and triumph over it, runs through the album like a watermark. Certainly one of the albums of the year. Out on Blue Note.

Stephen Graham

Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albumsAlbum reviews

Michael Olatuja, Lagos Pepper Soup

If you ever needed proof what an outrageously accomplished talent bass guitarist Michael Olatuja is then Lagos Pepper Soup is that key piece of recent evidence. It is also a collection in one place of some of the best forward seeking jazz musicians …

Published: 13 Jun 2020. Updated: 22 days.

Next post

If you ever needed proof what an outrageously accomplished talent bass guitarist Michael Olatuja is then Lagos Pepper Soup is that key piece of recent evidence.

It is also a collection in one place of some of the best forward seeking jazz musicians on the planet who join Olatuja in this adventure and include Aaron Parks, Terreon Gully, Femi Temowo, Joe Lovano, Robert Mitchell, Laura Mvula, Dianne Reeves and many others.

Olatuja in his writing and arranging favours a wide screen almost cinematic sweep in his style and the tunes are wrapped in beautifully developed settings that harness improvisational ideas along the way and dip into a range of styles. When Grammy time comes around surely Olatuja deserves consideration particularly for the quality of arranging and composition. This sort of record does not come along every year. Out now on Whirlwind.