Ambrose Akinmusire

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Ambrose Akinmusire
Ambrose Akinmusire.jpg
Performing in Oakland, California, 2014
Background information
Born (1982-05-01) May 1, 1982 (age 34)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Trumpet
Years active 2000s – present
Labels Blue Note/Capitol/Universal
Associated acts Joni Mitchell, Cold Specks, Walter Smith III

Ambrose Akinmusire (ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee; born May 1, 1982) is an American jazz trumpeter.

In 2007, Akinmusire was the winner of both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, two of the most prestigious jazz competitions in the world.[1][2]

In 2014 he won the North Sea Jazz Festival's Paul Acket Award.[3]


Born and raised in Oakland, California, Akinmusire was as a member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, where he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman who was visiting the school to give a workshop. Coleman hired him as a member of his Five Elements band for a European tour. Akinmusire was also a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. During his early development, Akinmusire often performed with Bay Area saxophone great Robert Stewart.

Akinmusire studied at the Manhattan School of Music before returning to the West Coast to take a master's degree at the University of Southern California and attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. In 2007, Akinmusire won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and released his debut recording Prelude…To Cora on the Fresh Sound New Talent label. He moved back to New York City and began performing with Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding, and Jason Moran, taking part in Moran’s innovative multimedia concert event In My Mind: Monk At Town Hall, 1957. It was also during this time that he caught the attention of Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records.

Akinmusire made his debut on the Blue Note label in 2011 with the album When The Heart Emerges Glistening, featuring his quintet of tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown.

Akinmusire's third album, entitled The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint, was released on March 11, 2014.

Akinmusire is featured on the last track of Kendrick Lamar's 2015 release To Pimp a Butterfly.

Selected discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year Title Label
2007 Prelude ... to Cora Fresh Sound
2011 When the Heart Emerges Glistening Blue Note/EMI Records
2014 The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint Blue Note/Capitol/Universal Records

As sideman[edit]

2012 Mette Juul "Moon on my Shoulder" jazz / singer and songwriter -

Year Artist Title Genre Label
2001 Steve Coleman Resistance Is Futile Jazz Label Bleu
2002 Aaron Parks Shadows Jazz KeynoteRecords
2003 Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd In What Language? Jazz Pi Recordings
2006 Walter Smith III Casually Introducing Jazz New Talent Spain
2007 Alan Pasqua Anti Social Club Jazz Cryptogramophon
2007 Sara Gazarek Return to You Jazz Native Language
2007 Josh Roseman New Constellations: Live in Vienna (Live) Jazz Accurate Records
2008 John Escreet Consequences Jazz Posi-Tone
2008 Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Jazz Heads Up
2008 Danny Grissett Form Jazz Criss Cross Jazz
2009 Le Boeuf Brothers House Without A Door Jazz lbjazz
2010 John Escreet Don't Fight the Inevitable Jazz Mythology Records
2010 Walter Smith III III Jazz Criss Cross Jazz
2010 David Binney Barefooted Town Jazz Criss Cross Jazz
2011 David Binney Graylen Epicenter Jazz Mythology Records
2011 Vince Mendoza Nights On Earth Jazz Horizontal Jazz
2011 Chris Dingman Waking Dreams Jazz Between Worlds
2012 Jack DeJohnette Sound Travels Jazz Entertainment One
2013 Dayna Stephens That Nepenthentic Place Jazz Sunnyside
2013 Gerald Clayton Life Forum Jazz Concord


  1. ^ "Competition - Past Winners and Judges". Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Eisensmith, Kevin. "The 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition". International Trumpet Guild. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ambrose Akinmusire Winner Paul Acket Award". North Sea Jazz Festival. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 

External links[edit]