Album Review: When the Heart Emerges Glistening by Ambrose Akinmusire
Exceptionally Good, Based on 3 Critics
PopMatters - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Thirty years ago, in 1981, a young trumpeter made his first statement on a major label and blew listeners out of their seats. When Wynton Marsalis debuted on Columbia, it was legitimate to say that you had never heard anyone play with such quicksilver fluency. It wasn’t that the music itself was daringly original but that Marsalis’s voice on the instrument seemed like a sudden, dramatic upgrade in brilliance.
For his octave-vaulting lines and incandescent high-end tones, 28-year-old California-born trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire suggests connections with Norwegian ambient-brass virtuoso Arve Henriksen. But this is American jazz, and the newcomer already sounds like a redefining force in that sphere. Akinmusire honed his craft with sax trailblazer Steve Coleman, and this music echoes that, and also the work of the album's producer, Jason Moran.
Every so often, a trumpeter comes along who redraws the instrument's role within jazz: Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, etc. Ambrose Akinmusire has the potential to join that crowd. He's not quite there yet, but When the Heart Emerges Glistening, the Blue Note debut from the young Californian, serves notice that he is one to watch.