If ever a young jazz musician were a perfect fit for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series, it’s Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced Ah-kin-MOO-sir-ee). His newest disc, for instance, is titled “The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint” and there’s no question that this is a musician whose remarkable formal inventiveness seems as much sometimes as that of a surrealist painter as that of a musician. To have him play in the vicinity of Tanguy and Miro masterpieces couldn’t possibly be more apt.
The trumpet player from Oakland is 31 and is as exciting as any current jazz musician. It isn’t his trumpet playing that impresses as much as the restless searching quality of his compositions in which he says, these days, “I want to write a song and not need improvisation.” When you hear the melodic and rhythmic complexity of his work on “The Imagined Savior,” it’s all stunningly fresh and all superb.His music is both experimental and accomplished. It bears relationships, he says, to everyone from Joni Mitchell to Kate Bush to tap dancer John W. Bubbles. He performs at 3 p.m. Sunday in the gallery auditorium. He’s expected to bring with him saxophonist Walter Smith, pianist Sam Harris, bassist Jarish Rashavan and drummer Justin Brown.
– Jeff Simon