Ambrose Akinmusire on What’s New

By April 27, 2013 One Comment

Bit of the old, bit of the new. Whether its the dichotomy between Mr Dorham’s 1959 Riverside cut from last post to Ambrose’s 2011 sophomore Blue Note release or within Akinmusire’s beautiful rendition of the standard ‘What’s New’theres always some old in the new…

Ambrose would have to be my [close-second] favourite trumpeter of all time. His tone is so round and fluffy and down-right beautiful. It acts as a cushion to his super angular lines and general harmonic approach, creating a super original sound. As one good friend put it, he holds “a sound to end all sounds.”

‘What’s New’ is the only standard on the album and is done as a duet between pianist Gerald Clayton and himself. I remember reading somewhere- possibly in the linear notes, possibly in an interview online-that besides being a great tune, he chose ‘What’s New’ as a rebuttal to the jazz fundamentalists who claim the new cats lack tradition, but in a heavy bout of post-modern irony are still stuck in the year of 1959-unprepared to embrace the music of here and now. Well, in your face jazz squares because Ambrose is seeping out of the ears with language and mixes it near perfectly with his original concepts.

In regards to transcription content, it’s interesting to see that within all the crazy leaps and lines Ambrose still gets time to pull out ’em good old chord tones. Possibly obvious, but I think that was surprising to me because sometimes with the new school you’re traditional harmonic approach takes a back seat but its definitely riding in the front with Ambrose on this track which is cool.

This one wasn’t the easiest transcription to notate, mainly because of the bends and glisses in and out of phrases. Also, his phrasing/interpretation of the melody during the last 10 or so bars was surprisingly tricky. Although it served as a a great example to one of my favourite quotes of his; when at a masterclass from the 2011/2012 Monterey Jazz Festival (it’s on Vimeo-check it out!!) he explained his concept of time as “like a bowling ball”, running down the alley at a constant rate of speed but describing it as a sort illusionary “dancing” whilst doing so.

Unfortunately the audio of this is nowhere to be found online, but that’s ok because you should be buying the record anyway. This the album I give people when they ask me to give them some new music-and I’m yet to be told by someone they didn’t vibe it.

P.S Dear Ambrose, if you ever read this. Thanks for the music and come back to Sydney!

[Lastly, viewer beware! This transcription is in Bb ONLY. From now on I’ll post a concert chart too.]

PDF: Bb- Ambrose Akinmisures Whats New Bb


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