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mrjazzman

Ambrose Akinmusire

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My 71 year old ears are done with this young fellow. He hooked me, reeled me in with his first couple of releases(I actually spoke with him, his baby and wife in the lobby of Yoshi's a while ago). Too bad because he has great technical ability on his horn. I just wish he would lean back a little toward the traditional Hard Bop style which he's quite capable of playing.  The music is way to cerebral for me, too much slow weird stuff.  Of course just one old man's opinion.

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Make that two old man's opinion. On his last few albums I've really enjoyed the playing of the trio supporting him. But his own playing? I can't connect with it and I wish he would stop making noises with his horn and play melody.

Yes, I'm aware I'm a new-fangled moldy figue.

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You guys are killing me, I can't stop laughing.  I expected to get lambasted for this opinion. Us old men have to stick together.  LOLLLLLLLLL

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I am not an old man (54 years old this month), but I confess to having been underwhelmed by his two most recent releases after really enjoying his earlier recordings and being very impressed hearing him live.

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12 minutes ago, relyles said:

I am not an old man (54 years old this month), but I confess to having been underwhelmed by his two most recent releases after really enjoying his earlier recordings and being very impressed hearing him live.

Make it 5 (but I am 58).  I want to connect, but ...

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I’m 51, and my first and only exposure to Ambrose was hearing him live here in DC at the Atlas theater in 2012. And much as I tried, I could not connect with his music much at all. It was him with a pretty forward thinking piano-trio backing him (can’t remember if it was piano, or maybe a Rhodes). But whatever, I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

My not caring for the concert *didn’t* made me think his playing was “nonsense” or anything - just that it wasn’t for me (despite my having fairly big ears, or so I’d like to think).

I haven’t bought any of his releases, though, as you might imagine.

Here’s someone else’s review of the very concert I heard (and it was in a small theater, not a club).

https://www.capitalbop.com/live-review-ambrose-akinmusires-vigorous-serenity-at-the-atlas-performing-arts-center/

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1 hour ago, Eric said:

Make it 5 (but I am 58).  I want to connect, but ...

Same opinion.

I really liked the FSNT and earlier BN releases. I admired rather than liked 'Origami Harvest'. The double live left me bewildered as I saw the band about the time of the recording and thought they were red hot but it didn't transfer onto that release to my ears. I haven't given 'On the tender spot...' enough time yet but first impressions didn't grab.

There's enough to keep me coming back but returns do seem to be diminishing. Maybe the next one...

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5 hours ago, mjazzg said:

Same opinion.

I really liked the FSNT and earlier BN releases. I admired rather than liked 'Origami Harvest'. The double live left me bewildered as I saw the band about the time of the recording and thought they were red hot but it didn't transfer onto that release to my ears. I haven't given 'On the tender spot...' enough time yet but first impressions didn't grab.

There's enough to keep me coming back but returns do seem to be diminishing. Maybe the next one...

All of those records you gotta hear more than once.  He has such an abstract way of approaching things that it can be a challenge, but I accepted the challenge.  He's wonderful  on  Wolfgang Muthspiel's ECM albums and I think Ambrose will sound great doing albums as a leader for them.  I also think because he's of my generation it may be easier to grasp, I'm not sure... I just keep an open mind and dig what he's saying

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I've listened to the last three multiple times. I really want to like his playing. . . but when others gush about his playing on these it seems like the Emperor's New Clothes to me!

Edited by jazzbo

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Can anyone post some YouTube clips, either live footage, or plenty of his albums and a couple sideman appearances seem to be represented as full-album uploads.

Any tracks to recommend? And discuss.

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I’ve only heard bits & pieces but I’m much more interested in other more abstract modern day trumpeters like Susana Santos Silva, Nate Wooley, Axel Doerner, Taylor Ho Bynum, Peter Evans, Josh Berman, Kirk Knuffke, Stephen Haynes, Purcy Pursglove or even the great 80 year old Joe McPhee on his pocket trumpet. Not sure what all the buzz is all about exactly...

 

 

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

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I'm agreed.  My view from listening to his last three albums is that he is a talented trumpeter in a more traditional vein, but that he gets let down by his ideas.

I thought that the rapping and syrupy strings on Origami Harvest in particular were just embarrassing: stale and out of date, and seemingly aimed at the kind of music that a "cool aunt" is into. Guardian music pages / Mercury award stuff. It brought back bad memories of Soweto Kinch from my younger days. 

(and that's before you get into the rapper in question...).

There's such a strong crop of younger jazz musicians with strong sounds and fresher ideas (whether of the sort that Steve Reynolds mentions, who I love and who really do have fresh ideas, or at the more mainstream end) at the moment that I don't really understand why he gets so much bandwidth. 

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Oh, come on Steve,

31 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

I’ve only heard bits & pieces but I’m much more interested in other more abstract modern day trumpeters like Susana Santos Silva, Nate Wooley, Axel Doerner, Taylor Ho Bynum, Peter Evans, Josh Berman, Kirk Knuffke, Stephen Haynes, Purcy Pursglove or even the great 80 year old Joe McPhee on his pocket trumpet. Not sure what all the buzz is all about exactly...

 

 

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

I share your enthusiasm for all those and own plenty of albums by them but also like Akinmusire too and have four of his/albums. Not necessarily a case of either/or for me.

There's a buzz because he is a talented musician, no one on this thread has questioned that. We're just discussing the progression or otherwise of his recording career to date.

Whales swimming in shoals

5 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

seemingly aimed at the kind of music that a "cool aunt" is into. Guardian music pages / Mercury award stuff. 

:lol:, lovely description. But I do read the Guardian music pages (lees than I used to), am I a "cool aunt"?

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18 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

 

:lol:, lovely description. But I do read the Guardian music pages (lees than I used to), am I a "cool aunt"?

What can I say? The signs are there. :rolleyes:

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Damn, a man on an island. His last two have gotten repeated spins from me. I feel his evolution has been interesting and unexpected from “When the Heart Emerges”. He’s gone the way I expected to see Christian Scott lean after “Yesterday You Said Tomorrow” (desert island record for me). “On the tender...” and “Origami Harvest” caught me on first listen. Very interestiing to see other put off.  

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40 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

What can I say? The signs are there. :rolleyes:

I may just have to accept the inevitable...

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OK, so now I"m giving 'On the tender spot....' that further listen.

The first track is very strong indeed, the shift from improv to Latin is great. Second track sounding good too, dense, lots to absorb.

Looking forward to listening to the rest now. This is reminding me why I rated the early albums.

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I definitely preferred that album. A step backwards in ambition but I just think it worked much better. 

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7 hours ago, jazzbo said:

I've listened to the last three multiple times. I really want to like his playing. . . but when others gush about his playing on these it seems like the Emperor's New Clothes to me!

Fair enough, I can respect that because you also have a very wide taste.  Personally for me, he's been one of the more interesting players in the last two decades in the so called "mainstream" along side Christian Scott.  I think they are working to push things forward and jazz is in a place where things are evolving in a way that it's not palatable to everyone.  I think to  recent conversations with some of my musician friends,  that a lot of musicians, particularly from my generation,  and those who are now coming up like Joel Ross, are using their jazz background but are using it to do something else. Sure, Ambrose can play hard bop, probably the closest thing is the Blue Note All Stars Our Point Of View which I dig very much, but opts for a more expansive take in his own work, or what his heart sees as valid, and I dig that.  I applaud Ben Williams for doing the same thing, with I Am A Man which is excellent with the jazz flavorings.  As much as hard bop is part of my personal listening palette, and comfort food,  when I review on my blog I almost never do hard bop records, because as fine as albums on Smoke Sessions (and I have a fair amount) and the like are... there is not much to say.  What can be said about that stuff that hasn't been said of all the classic Blue Note stuff already? 

 

Lenny White made a great point in a podcast with Vince Wilburn, Jr with Emilio Modeste and Malick Koly, who were in Wallace Roney's last band.  They were talking the "future of jazz" and Lenny said for new generations, there has to be a way to take home cooking, and because younger folks have different tastes figure out a way to make that home cooking palatable-- so integrating that jazz flavor in a way that can bring folks to the music.  I mean we all know that kind of argument has been around for years-- the kind of raise a red flag to purists.  I guess I react so strongly to pro purist type feelings because I was one, and then my mind opened.  I like what Antonio Sanchez said when we caught up last week, jazz is a freedom and a spirit, and I think that's exactly where it is today.  I'm starting to think of all the artists I like, their music is their own universe, I'm trying not to think oh this is jazz, this is rock, this is funk, this is electronic... it's all music.

Edited by CJ Shearn

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3 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

I'm agreed.  My view from listening to his last three albums is that he is a talented trumpeter in a more traditional vein, but that he gets let down by his ideas.

I thought that the rapping and syrupy strings on Origami Harvest in particular were just embarrassing: stale and out of date, and seemingly aimed at the kind of music that a "cool aunt" is into. Guardian music pages / Mercury award stuff. It brought back bad memories of Soweto Kinch from my younger days. 

(and that's before you get into the rapper in question...).

There's such a strong crop of younger jazz musicians with strong sounds and fresher ideas (whether of the sort that Steve Reynolds mentions, who I love and who really do have fresh ideas, or at the more mainstream end) at the moment that I don't really understand why he gets so much bandwidth. 

The rapping on Origami Harvest was absurd, I agree.  He tends to go at extremes in his work and almost intentional absurdity to test the limits.  I think he gets that bandwidth because mainstream jazz media is always functioning on biases, and as a freelance writer doing my own thing I see that.  I mean, we all have bias' but just like Grammy awards, if you look to those things as a means of validation for what you are doing, that's the wrong track... however, rightly or wrongly it builds connections.  There's a tremendous Bay area bassist named Chris Trinidad whom I think has fresher ideas than say the direction Derrick Hodge is going with his projects (even though I reviewed Color of Noize favorably, it is something I listen to when the mood strikes) but it just is what it is

4 hours ago, Steve Reynolds said:

I’ve only heard bits & pieces but I’m much more interested in other more abstract modern day trumpeters like Susana Santos Silva, Nate Wooley, Axel Doerner, Taylor Ho Bynum, Peter Evans, Josh Berman, Kirk Knuffke, Stephen Haynes, Purcy Pursglove or even the great 80 year old Joe McPhee on his pocket trumpet. Not sure what all the buzz is all about exactly...

 

 

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

Checking out Santos Silva's Quarantine Concert on Youtube now... she has a gorgeous tone.  Thanks for the heads up.  Again, this is not something I'd listen to all the time, but when the mood hits, this stuff is perfect.  Like mjazzg said all this stuff can co exist.

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CJ, I do have wide tastes and parts of this music I do like. I really do like the piano trio backing him on his latest and the live double, I think their playing is very good and I even like a lot of the composition.

It's actually the trumpet playing I don't connect to. Especially the "sounds" he plays instead of notes (how I hear it.) I'm not against abstract/avant garde playing--my best friend in the world, Dave Laczko, is an avant garde trumpeter and I understand and enjoy his work, but I always find that he has melody and lyricism as a component in his playing. I find that a lot less so in much of Akinmusire's leader work. . . .

And as time goes by I do find myself liking "purer jazz" more than "some jazz with big dollops of other music blended in or grafted on" (as the song goes. .. "It could happen to you," in time). But that's not really my issue with his work outside the pentultimate recording. I just honestly don't get into his actual playing.

We're all different and thank goodness.

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6 hours ago, Steve Reynolds said:

I’ve only heard bits & pieces but I’m much more interested in other more abstract modern day trumpeters like Susana Santos Silva, Nate Wooley, Axel Doerner, Taylor Ho Bynum, Peter Evans, Josh Berman, Kirk Knuffke, Stephen Haynes, Purcy Pursglove or even the great 80 year old Joe McPhee on his pocket trumpet. Not sure what all the buzz is all about exactly...

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

Yes.

I sampled a few of tracks from across his discography - pretty boring player, as far as I am concerned. Sort of unfocused and contrived, no flow, the sound is forced. I don't get it. There are dozens of more interesting players, both young and old (IMHO, of course). Randomly - Jean-Luc Cappozzo: 

      

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