I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn earlier today of the untimely death of Abram Wilson, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer. Abram was a superb trumpeter, composer, educator and leader, but he was more too - he was a flag-flier, a standard-bearer for jazz. His passion for the music he loved was evident to anyone who had the pleasure and honour to work with him, as I did on several occasions, and his inspiring work with young players was proof - not that it was needed - of his dedication not just to the scene but to its continuation.
The first time I met Abram was at the MOBO awards in 2006, the year that the jazz category was cancelled. Abram led the charge against this injustice to the music, and I watched him lead an impromptu marching band in front of the crowds gathered outside the Royal Albert Hall, chanting "WE WANT JAZZ!" at the top of his voice, playing his heart out and fighting the good fight for a music and a cause he believed in. It was about as representative an introduction as I could ask for, and a memory I will hold on to fondly.
Other tributes will do fuller justice to his enduring memory than mine, but my deepest personal condolences, and those of everyone at Jazz Services, go out to his family and his many friends. Abram, you will be deeply missed. Rest In Peace.
- John Lyons