"Though life is hard I come from a history of greatness, so I will be great"
Abram Wilson, 30th August 1973 to 9th June 2012
Abram Wilson was an acclaimed jazz trumpeter, vocalist, composer and educator from New Orleans. During his life, he inspired audiences, collaborators and students with his music and his radiant positivity.
A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Eastman School of Music, he moved to London in 2002 where he quickly became a rising star of the London jazz scene. Abram was a prolific composer and performer. He recorded three critically acclaimed albums and was awarded many accolades during his prestigious career.
In 2012, Abram was at the height of his creative abilities. He had begun several ambitious projects and was in the middle of an extensive UK tour when he became unwell. Abram died on 9th June at the age of 38 after a short illness.
Throughout his career, Abram was not only dedicated to his craft, but to sharing his passion with the next generation. He touched thousands of lives with his music through workshops and projects collaborating with numerous internationally recognised venues and organisations including Southbank Centre, the Barbican, Kings Place, the Young Vic, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Turner Sims, and Jazz at Lincoln Center to name a few. Abram’s music and spirit lives on his students and those who are proud to have called him their teacher and mentor.
Abram’s manager and widow, Jennie Cashman Wilson, set up the Abram Wilson Foundation to continue his legacy. In his short life, Abram achieved greatness. The Foundation exists to support others to do the same.
ABRAM'S LIFE IN JAZZ
Born 30 August 1973 in Fort Smith, Arkansas and grew up in New Orleans, Louisana
1987 Accepted to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) at the age of 14
1991 Won a scholarship to study classical trumpet at Ohio Wesleyan University
1995 Enrolled on a jazz masters degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York
1997 Moved to New York City and established the Abram Wilson Quintet recording his first album, Soul Vibe
1999 Recorded with R&B vocalist Ruth Brown, member of the Roy Hargrove Big Band and worked with members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
2002 Moved to London
2004 Signed by independent UK jazz label, Dune Music and released debut solo album, Jazz Warriors. Received BBC Jazz Award for Best Band
2005 Won first prize in the jazz category at Nashville's International Songwriting Competition for his composition Monk
2006 Commissioned by Cheltenham Jazz Festival under the Jerwood Rising Star programme to write and perform Ride! Ferris Wheel to the Modern Day Delta, which then became his second album. Appointed Assistant Artistic Director for Tomorrow’s Warriors, Dune’s youth jazz education programme.
2007 Collaborated with gospel producer Nicky Brown and gospel historian Viv Broughton on acclaimed project Roll Jordan Roll, a tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers featuring the London Community Gospel Choir. Received British Jazz Award for Best New CD
2008 Composer and performer in Tarell Alvin McCraney's play In the Red and Brown Water at the Young Vic. Performed in director Tim Supple's As You Like It at the Curve in Leicester
2009 Released Life Paintings, his final album with Dune Music
2011 Parted company with Dune Music to join forces with his partner and newly appointed manager, Jennie Cashman Wilson. Started five new projects, including The Philippa Project, a jazz-theatre production funded by Arts Council England and Running With The Flame, a London 2012 Olympics-inspired septet project
2012 Appointed inaugural Turner Sims Professor at the University of Southampton and the first Jazzlines Associate Artist at Town Hall & Symphony Hall in Birmingham. Embarked on a 20-date tour marking ten years in the UK
9 June 2012 Abram passed away aged 38 after a short illness
2012 Abram Wilson Foundation launched
2015 Abram posthumously honoured with the Ohio Wesleyan Distinguished Achievement Citation (DAC) by the Alumni Association Board of Directors of Ohio Wesleyan University
Photo credit: www.benjaminamure.com