Jazz has played an important role in my life on a lot of levels, but for whatever reason, I haven’t shared much of it here. It’s definitely a genre I’m drawn to on my own, musically, but it’s just so damn daunting, which sometimes makes it hard to explore (and enjoy). This guy though, Ambrose Akinmusire, grew up in Oakland, CA and attended Berkeley High (a school known for its jazz program). I grew up somewhat nearby and was always astonished by what the Berkeley High kids—kids my own age at the time—were capable of. Blew me right out of the water. Still does.

Anyway, Akinmusire is pretty much everything I love about a great trumpet player: beautiful tone, flexibility on the instrument, with a knack for writing pieces that I’m drawn to harmonically. This recording won’t be for everyone—and unfortunately, it gets cut off at the end during the tenor solo—but it’ll give you an idea of what he’s about and it definitely gets deep in the conversation happening on stage between the guys in the band.