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Susquehanna Life

Ambrose Akinmusire’s Quintet

Sep 25, 2014 09:40PM ● By Erica Shames

The Jazz@Bucknell series continues with a performance by the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 in Bucknell Hall.

The performance features Akinmusire on trumpet, Walter Smith on tenor saxophone, Sam Harris on piano, Harish Raghavan on bass, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums.

"We are thrilled to welcome one of modern jazz's most original and in-demand young artists to campus," said Barry Long, music professor at Bucknell and series coordinator. "Hearing this quintet in an intimate space such as Bucknell Hall will not soon be forgotten."

Named the top jazz trumpeter of the year, Akinmusire was listed among the top five in the Jazz Artist, Jazz Album, and Jazz Group critics polls in the latest Downbeat Magazine.

Born and raised in Oakland, Calif., Akinmusire was a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble when he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman. He was asked to join Coleman's Five Elements, embarking on a European tour when he was 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, he attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles, studying 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 he 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 Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding and Jason Moran, catching the attention of Bruce Lundvall, president of Blue Note Records. Akinmusire's Blue Note debut When The Heart Emerges Glistening was released in 2011 to rave reviews. The Los Angeles Times said, "Akinmusire sounds less like a rising star than one that was already at great heights and just waiting to be discovered."

DownBeat said, "…clearly something very special and personal is at work here, a vision of jazz that’s bigger than camps, broader and more intellectually restless than blowing sessions.” 

The Jazz@Bucknell series presents international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.

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