Abram Wilson - Ticket to ride

When trumpeter Abram Wilson made the move from his native New Orleans to London he had no idea about what was in store. From jamming in London jazz clubs, to working on Soweto Kinch’s Conversations With The Unseen, to developing his own albums Jazz Warrior and now Ride! the New Orleansian has come a long way in a short time. Andy Robson talks to Abram about the inspirations behind his new album, the effects of Hurricane Katrina on his hometown and finds out more from saxophonist Soweto Kinch who will share the stage at a high profile show with Wilson at this month’s London Jazz Festival.
Abram Wilson - Ticket to ride
It’s 29 August, 2006: a balmy, late summer’s day in London town, a perfect day to meet a trumpet man for whom the words “sunny temperament” were made for. New Orleans-born Abram Wilson naturally brims with an energy and optimism that befits a young man in the prime of life, revelling in his maturing skills not only as a player and vocalist but also as deputy artistic director of Dune Records. A talented man with an already impressive track record, not the least as part of Soweto Kinch’s line up for his new album B19, but also a rich future ahead of him, notably for his new project Ride! which is about to take the jazz world by storm.

Storm indeed as 29 August was also Remembrance Day in the USA for the anniversary of the day Katrina struck, the hurricane that ripped the heart out of the The Big Easy. The memory of what happened to Wilson’s home town, and more importantly what happened to his people afterwards, still inspires a righteous anger in his breast and indeed inspires much of the music and the soul of his new release. “Every thing on this record has to do with what happened in New Orleans, directly and indirectly,” says the ebullient Wilson. “Before I used to play because Wynton plays, Miles Davis is cool, Louis Armstrong is a bad trumpet player and I just wanted to play for me, to be part of that.

“But things have happened in the world that have changed all that, opened my eyes to a reality that I should have known about before. What I saw in New Orleans made me realise that music has a responsibility to tell people the truth of what’s going on – and to understand how to live right. What I saw in New Orleans showed me that we as musicians have a responsibility to tell people what is righteous.”

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