Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is a forward-thinking musician with a bent toward atmospheric post-bop. Born in Oakland, California, Akinmusire showed early promise in his teens, and gigged professionally while also playing in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Early encounters with such luminaries as saxophonists Joe Henderson and Steve Coleman pushed Akinmusire to focus a keen eye on his own development. He earned his Bachelor's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and later his Master's from the University of Southern California. Along the way, Akinmusire studied with such trumpet luminaries as master teacher Laurie Frink, Lew Soloff, and Terence Blanchard. Akinmusire has appeared as a sideman on many albums, including works by saxophonist Coleman, pianists Aaron Parks and Vijay Iyer, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Esperanza Spalding, and others. In 2007, Akinmusire won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. A year later he released his debut solo album, Prelude to Cora, on Fresh Sound New Talent.
In 2011 Akinmusire returned with his sophomore album, When the Heart Emerges Glistening, on Blue Note Records. He then made session appearances on records by a wide array of artists, including David Binney's Graylen Epicenter, Chris Dingman's Waking Dreams, Baptiste Trotignon's For a While, and Gerald Clayton's Life Forum. His sophomore Blue Note date, The Imagined Savior Is Easier to Paint, was released in March of 2014. The following year, he contributed to rapper Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly and joined Marcus Miller on the bassist's Grammy-nominated Afrodeezia. In 2017, Akinmusire returned with the ambitious, two-disc concert album A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard. ~ Matt Collar