ABRAM WILSON 4 STAR GUARDIAN REVIEW

Live Review of Abram Wilson Quartet at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

4th April 2012

Being a jazz performer with his own vivid stories to tell, the London-based US trumpeter/vocalist Abram Wilson probably won't be bursting into grateful tears at comparisons with Wynton Marsalis. He would probably twist a wry smile at the gap between their respective funding levels, too. But there are certainly similarities. Wilson also comes from New Orleans, plays very classy trumpet with the blues power, street-party swing and expressive vibrato common to players from that city, and likes to make a gig an event rather than just a stream of enigmatic tunes and byzantine solos. He's currently touring with a tale of the extraordinary life and times of Philippa Schuyler, the mixed-race child piano prodigy turned journalist who died while reporting in Vietnam in 1967.

It's to Wilson's immense credit as a narrator and musician that he can balance this complex tale with a vivacious contemporary jazz performance that stands up in its own right. He sparingly applied his Nat Cole-meets-Motown voice to reflections on Schuyler's childhood, and later to her troubled search for love across America's racial divide. He kept his between-songs narrative tight, witty and moving, and delivered a series of glossy trumpet improvisations in the company of a young band (pianist Reuben James, bassist Alex Davis and drummer Dave Hamblett) that began cautiously, but then threw that to the wind. Light-stepping themes evoked Schuyler's childhood wonderment, from which Wilson segued gracefully into solos of pure long tones, tumbling runs and dramatic, circular-breathing trills. The 1930s Harlem Renaissance was represented in debonair dance grooves that turned into modern-swing closer to 50s Miles Davis, and the group touched on the Watermelon Man funk sound of the next decade as Schuyler's journey advanced. Wilson's next move is to turn it into a staged play. It is a work in progress that will be fascinating to follow.

Friday 6th April 2012 - The Guardian, John Fordham

Images - Ben Amure

 

ABRAM CELEBRATES 10 IN UK ON APRIL 4 @PIZZAEXPRESS

Abram Wilson celebrates 10 years in the UK as he kicks off a 20 date UK Tour at Pizza Express in Soho on April 4th. Thanks to Jazz Services and Arts Council England, Wilson brings his exciting new quartet to London to perform music from Philippa - a new project featuring original music about mixed-raced piano prodigy, Philippa Schuyler. Some dates feature his new septet called Running With The Flame which includes both Jean Tussaint, Pete King and Winston Rollins on traditional folk songs from around the world in which Abram has arranged in a swinging jazz style in tribute to the 2012 Olympics. Check out the schedule HERE and come out and celebrate a 10 year New Orleans /London jazz party all around the UK! Book Pizza Express Tickets HERE.

ABRAM WILSON TRUMPET KINGS A BIG HIT AT SPICE OF LIFE

We had a grat time performing to a full house at Spice Of Life for Night Of The Trumpet Kings - Tribute to Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan and Woody Shaw. I'd like to thank all who attended, the band for playing an incredible show, my management team, promotoer of the night - Paul Pace and Ben Amure for some great photos. Thanks to everyone!

ABRAM WILSON NOW COMPOSING FOR 2012 OLYMPIC SEPTET TOUR

Running With The Flame, a salute to the 2012 Olympic Games is being composed right NOW and features an incredible septet performing exciting arrangements of folk songs from the six inhabited continents. It features the quartet with veterans Jean Toussaint - tenor saxophone, Pete King - alto saxophone and Winston Rollins - trombone. Summer tour dates are listed under The Abram Wilson Septet HERE.