I didn’t expect to do this post, and I would rather not have to do it in this way. I turned on a radio podcast this morning, and heard the presenter annouce the death earlier this month of Abram Wilson, the jazz trumpeter and singer, at the age of just 38.
Now if you’re a jazz fan, you should get used to losing your idols, but this has affected me more than most.
I saw him play in Swansea in about 2005, coming on as a special guest to support his friend Soweto Kinch. I already had Abram Wilson’s UK debut album Jazz Warrior and loved it, so this was a real thrill for me. He played beautifully, with a rich, slightly brassy, joyful tone – surely a heritage of the city of his birth, New Orleans, where, as he told us, ‘every trumpet player can sing’. Which he then did, showing that he could have made it as a soulful jazz singer too.
He helped a wave of new talent on the UK scene in the last decade, breaking new ground by introducing jazz into many musical contexts, and was a tireless campaigner, educator, and supporter of humanitarian causes – a true jazz warrior.
I’ll give a few video links – I gather these don’t always work n the US, but I hope some will. Try them. Buy his records. Remember one of the good guys.
Here he is talking about his life, New Orleans, and playing blues and ballads at a college inTruro:
Here he’s playing Jazz Warrior at a festival in Lithuania in 2005:
Here he’s playing J’espere, the tune he wrote to support those devastated by the earthquake in Haiti:
And here’s a bluesy album track, After the storm:
My sympathies to his family, his many friends, and his very many fans.