Ambrose Akinmusire Masterclass at Next Generation 2012

My Banff buddy Sam Neufeld hipped me to this hour-long masterclass given by Ambrose Akinmusire. I thought more people should know about it: check it out!

***At the time of this posting: Only 120 all-time plays?! Hard to believe —hundreds of dollars worth of masterclasses available on the Internet, but it's finding them that's the challenge.

And some brief thoughts

The Steve Coleman line is great: "You have to come up with your own concept." I'm more used to seeing "concept" used in a sarcastic or derisive manner, e.g., "I'm sick of all these young guys who don't know the history constantly BSing about their 'concept,' or whatever." But, there's wisdom in that advice—why else would listening to somebody be enjoyable or stimulating if they only played generic or impersonal stuff?
Of course, having your own concept really means picking out what resonates with you personally and developing an approach that builds upon those personal preferences, which, in the case of Ambrose, included to a certain extent trying not to sound "like a trumpet player," imitating the attack of a cello because it's his favorite instrument, playing the un-notatable (a noble goal!).

On the Clarke's Studies variation, I had heard Ambrose talk about a similar thing at a masterclass at the Stanford Jazz Residency way back in 2009, but I didn't understand what he meant at the time. Now, I think I have a slightly better idea:

The Cmaj7 example is the one from the masterclass; the others are generic examples I just came up with. I think the idea is to adapt the contour and the sequence of notes in the etude to other chord sounds that are more applicable in a "jazz" setting. In the end, though, the point is to come up with creative ways of challenging yourself technically and aurally.


  1. Hey Kevin, the video seems to not work. Do you have a direct link on anyway of accessing it? I'm really curious about it!




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