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Abram Wilson

Abram Wilson

Making the connection between Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and hip-hop/R&B seems like a better exercised idea on paper than on the bandstand. But trumpeter and singer Abram Wilson’s splendid debut, Jazz Warrior (Dune), offers a persuasive case for the unlikely fusion.

Based in London but bred in New Orleans, Wilson plays the trumpet in true Crescent City style. With a stout tone, Wilson spits out swaggering riffs, melodies and improvisations, using many of his hometown’s vocalized nuances such as growls, slurs and wheezes. His all-acoustic band stomps out modern grooves that suggest both Preservation Hall and London’s forward-looking Jazz Cafe. “My goal was to create a groove-oriented record but maintain the swing element,” Wilson says. “A lot of rhythms stem from Herlin Riley: I used that New Orleans-type of drumming, while channeling hip-hop in the simplicity of the kick drum rhythm and rim-shot.”

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