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I've been doing a bit of thinking about what to share with you next, and I thought I'd give you an insight into the inspiration behind Abram and his work. Abram was one of the most generous, talented, hard working artists I'd ever met. He lived for his music, and his whole life would pour out of that trumpet every time he picked it up.
One of the things he used to talk about in terms of what turned him onto jazz was the Wynton Marsalis Septet. He'd recall the first time he saw them play in New Orleans when he was about 16 years old, and how impressed he was by these tall, proud, eloquent black men playing this incredible music. That was the moment Abram decided to focus on jazz music.
Here's a great clip of them playing Happy Birthday to pianist Marcus Roberts.
About 20 years later Abram formed a septet that would prove to be one of his best bands yet, the Abram Wilson 'Olympic' Septet. It included his regular rhythm section, Alex Davis on bass, Dave Hamblett on drums and Reuben James on piano but with the added bonus of Peter King on alto sax, Jean Toussaint on tenor sax and Winston Rollins/Trevor Mires on trombone. The band had a string of dates booked this summer and had already performed three before Abram was admitted into hospital in late May.
The septet music, 'Running With The Flame', was inspired by the London 2012 Olympics. Abram had come up with this idea to arrange traditional folk songs from around the world in a jazz style. It sounded completely insane when he told me about it, but Abram had an incredible ability to hear things most people couldn't even dream of, he'd say "trust me Jennie, it's gonna sound goooood" and break out into a huge grin, because when he talked about the music he loved that's all he could ever do - smile big!
So this is a video from a gig on 4th May 2012 at Bedales Arts, near Petersfield in England. This is the final tune of the night, the encore to be precise, where the band played a folk song from Abram's homeland, New Orleans. It's called L'il Liza James.
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