Hard to believe it's 16 years since Ambrose Akinmusire won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. That same year, he won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition plus his debut album on Fresh Sound. In 2011, Akinmusire signed to Blue Note Records where he released five albums as a leader one as a member of the Blue Note All Stars. He's been a frequent guest artist appearing on albums by Jen Shyu, Me'shell Ndegeocello, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and Mary Halvorson, Jack DeJohnette, and many more. He's also has collaborated with Australian composer Michael Yezerski for two seasons on the soundtrack of the STARZ series "Blindspotting". Earlier this month, Akinmusire was named the Artistic Director for the incoming class of 2025 of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formerly the Monk Institute) in Los Angeles, CA.
he Church of St. Eustache (pictured below)––the trumpeter rented space within the building bringing sound engineer Julien Bassères along to capture the improvisations. In an excellent interview with Nate Chinen for his SubStack blog, "The Gig", Akinmusire said "You know, the idea started from talking to Wadada and Roscoe, and them talking about the importance of having a solo record". (Sign up for "The Gig" as it is now Mr. Chinen's main vehicle for writing). There's certainly a precedent for this album as there are numerous Creative Music solo trumpet albums including several excellent TUM releases by Wadada Leo Smith.