The unguarded moments of Ambrose Akinmusire

The Artistry of… Ambrose Akinmusire

The music frees up time and space like it’s elastic. Melody is as dependent upon counter-melody and rhythm and harmony, just as elements of being make life. There is fierce dedication to discovery and it penetrates through all levels of creativity.

The phrase that is the title of Ambrose’s Blue Note release, On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment, resonates among so many in the African diaspora who are too often sighing heavily. It is speaking directly to the depth of hurt, just by virtue of the raw consciousness of existing. There’s so much built-up armour to shield you as you move through the world whose air you breathe. Just to be ready.

With so much experienced, it builds like a callus. And like a callus, no matter how tough or how strong you think you are, unguarded moments find tenderness. “Be wary of the unguarded moments,” my mother used to say.


The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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