On June 9 the world of jazz (London jazz especially) lost a great musician in Abram Wilson. Abram was just 38 and succumbed to colon cancer at such a young age.
It is really hard to believe that Abram is no longer here providing his wisdom through his trumpet playing and vocal chords.
Abram was born and raised in the USA but lived in the UK since around 2004. I first came across Abram in the summer of 2005. In the space of 2 weeks I saw him play live at places such as the Royal Festival Hall , Ealing Jazz Festival and at the Spice of Life. Since then I had seen Abram rock the Kings Place and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. I had to assure Abram in those early days that I was not not stalking him.
During that period when I came across Abram he was a key part of the Jazz Jamaica group which blended jazz with Caribbean music to much acclaim.
Abram was just different to other young jazz performers in the UK. His played a mean trumpet, rapped, sang and was a natural in get the audience involved. He had that knack of fusing old jazz with modern forms of music.
He was always pushing his barriers and was never predictable. Abram’s first album “Jazz Warrior” one of my favourite albums of the past 20 years.
Abram provided the music for the play “In the Brown and Red Water” at the Young Vic. This was not your typical play. Set in American south the play was staged in water. Abram not only provided the score on his own but he also played a small role. Some of the solo trumpet scores he delivered blended perfectly with the comedic or dramatic scene.
Abram was such a busy man in his short life. He taught music to kids across the country. He taught down road from me when I lived in Walthamstow, East London. Again I had reassure Abram I was no stalker.
Abram arranged the music for Scott Joplin’s “Treemonisha that played on the South Bank 2 years ago. It was the first opera I ever attended. Without Abram’s influence and consistent track record over the years I would not have ventured to see the opera. So glad I did.
Abram was very good at keeping his fans and followers up to date on twitter. The one thing you could tell from his tweets was that Abram was always busy doing something exciting with music. Whether professionally or in schools. I remember Abram tweeting how excited he was at completing his first ever film score.
It is only now you realise that Abram was on this planet for a short period and he had an abundance of positive vibes to pass on before his time on earth came to an abrupt end.
Yet, still I never felt that Abram ever received the respect and adulation his talents and exploits deserved.
Abram has left a huge gap in the UK jazz scene. I shall miss his energy, innovative talents and the pleasure he gave those who heard his work. Watching live jazz music will never be the same.
Abram Wilson – you will be missed. Greatly.