Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Studies
(213) 740-3119 phone
(213) 740-3119 phone
BiographyAmbrose Akinmusire, adjunct instructor at the USC Thornton School of Music, won the 2012 DownBeat Critics Poll for trumpet. His music restructures accepted notions of jazz in a way that reflects his ability to recognize nuances, multiplicities, and patterns. First playing piano at the age of three, his familiarity with music began long before putting his mouth to a trumpet. He is relentlessly opposed to stagnation, seeking movement in both his music and his life.
Before he was eighteen, Akinmusire had already performed with such famed musicians as Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, Steve Coleman, and Billy Higgins. After graduating Berkeley High School, he moved to New York to begin a scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Vincent Pinzerella from the New York Philharmonic, Dick Oatts, Lew Soloff, and Laurie Frink.
Throughout his studies, Akinmusire continued to tether audiences to his concepts and his sound, performing publicly with Lonnie Plaxico, Stefon Harris, Josh Roseman, Vijay Iyer, Charlie Persip, the Mingus Big Band, and the San Francisco Jazz Collective, to name only a few. His exposure to dynamic modes of playing and to musicians with accumulated experiences only promoted the development of his own distinct musical style.
An alumnus of USC Thornton, Akinmusire earned his Masters degree at Thornton. He attended the Thelonious Monk Institute where his instructors included Terence Blanchard, Billy Childs, and Gary Grant. He is winner of both the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Akinmusire has worked with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Hal Crook, Bob Hurst, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. His musical trajectory continues to grow in more than one direction, drawing from the most unconventional sources, unraveling the most comfortable conceptions of limitation. His persistent reevaluations and his aspirations to evolution and beauty carry it to an entirely new space within itself.