Top and best trumpet-led album in 2020: 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 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. Photo: Blue Note
marlbank albums of the year will be published on Thursday 31 December round midnight