FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2024 • 6 PM & 8:30 PM
AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE QUINTET
Ambrose Akinmusire, trumpet
Sam Harris, piano
Emmanuel Michael, guitar,
Harish Raghavan, bass
Justin Brown, drums
Cabaret Vibes! This performance is held in The JAI, our intimate concert space where one can enjoy wine, cocktails, table-service, and more.
“Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered.”
— Los Angeles Times
“Arguably the most technically gifted trumpeter of his generation.”
— The New York Times
During his 15-year career, Ambrose Akinmusire has paradoxically situated himself in both the center and the periphery of jazz, 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.
His unorthodox approach to sound and composition make him a regular on critics polls and have earned him earned him grants and commissions from the Doris Duke Foundation, the MAP Fund, the Kennedy Center, The Berlin Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz. While Akinmusire continues to garner accolades, his reach is always beyond—himself, his instrument, genre, form, preconceived notions, and anything else imposing limitations.
Motivated primarily by the spiritual and practical value of art, Akinmusire wants to remove the wall of erudition surrounding his music. He aspires to create richly textured emotional landscapes that tell the stories of the community, record the time, and change the standard. While committed to continuing the lineage of black invention and innovation, he manages to honor tradition without being stifled by it.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee) was a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble when he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. Akinmusire was asked to join Coleman’s Five Elements, embarking on a European tour when he was just a 19-year-old student at the Manhattan School of Music. After returning to the West Coast to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, Akinmusire went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, where he studied with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard.
In 2007 Akinmusire won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, decided by a panel of judges that included Blanchard, Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela, Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove. That year Akinmusire also won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and released his debut album Prelude…To Cora on the Fresh Sound label. He moved back to New York and began performing with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding and Jason Moran. It was also during this time that he first caught the attention of another discerning listener, Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records. Akinmusire’s Blue Note debut When The Heart Emerges Glistening was released in 2011 to rave reviews.
In July 2023 it was announced Ambrose Akinmusire will be the next Artistic Director of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance.