- Phil Freeman
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Ambrose Akinmusire is a really fascinating trumpet player. He’s made five studio albums and one live album, all but one of them for Blue Note. He’s also recorded with Walter Smith III, with Archie Shepp, with Mary Halvorson as part of her group Code Girl, with Tarbaby, with Roscoe Mitchell, and he’s on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. His latest album, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, is one of the best jazz records of 2020. I saw him perform the music at Winter Jazzfest in January of this year, which as you’ll hear in our conversation was actually something like a live rehearsal, because they went into the studio and recorded the album the day after the show.
We talked about a whole range of subjects in this interview, I’m not even sure how to preface it all. We discuss his style on the trumpet, which is a little bit unorthodox and to my ear demonstrates a real mastery of the horn; we talk about each of his albums, including why he has occasionally taken several years off in between; we talk about political engagement and how his own life impacts the music he makes; and a whole lot more. I had a really good time talking to him, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to our conversation.
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Music heard in this episode:
Ambrose Akinmusire, “Confessions to My Unborn Daughter” (When the Heart Emerges Glistening)
Ambrose Akinmusire, “Tide of Hyacinth” (On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment)