About Abram Wilson
Wilson was a multi-award winning jazz trumpeter, composer and
educator. Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S.A, he died aged 38 years,
on 9th June 2012 in London, England.
In memory of Abram, his passion for jazz music and the many ideas he still had left to realise, his family, friends and supporters are establishing the Abram Wilson Foundation to continue his legacy.
The Abram Wilson Foundation
The Abram Wilson Foundation will ensure that all those who were touched by Abram's work - followers, students and collaborators alike, have an opportunity to continue to appreciate his gifts: his recordings, ideas, uplifting enthusiasm and belief in the power of music. Abram was developing numerous projects and had exciting plans to get people playing and listening to great jazz and the Abram Wilson Foundation is committed to realising his plans and allowing his music to live on for people to learn and be inspired.
To 'kickstart' the Foundation we plan to complete Abram’s final project Philippa. This project will serve as a tribute and lasting memory to the life of an artist whose music and joy had such a profound impact on the thousands of people he came into contact with throughout his career.
The Philippa Project
Philippa, is inspired by the life of Philippa Schuyler who was born in 1931 to a black father from Harlem and a white upper-class mother from Texas. By the time she was four, she was playing Bach minuets and only two years later, performing at Carnegie Hall and described as the 'Shirley Temple of American Negroes'. However, once an adult, the American classical music world rejected her - the days of segregation presenting a glass ceiling despite her talent. Philippa nonetheless toured the world, delighting audiences on every continent, but never managing to garner the success that she achieved in her childhood. Eventually she gave up her career as a pianist to follow her father into journalism, which took her to Vietnam. It was here, in 1967, aged 36, that she tragically died in a helicopter accident.
Abram, moved by her story, had written a series of tunes inspired by Philippa's life. He had opened the door to a lost story about an artist's struggle with success and identity. Abram was keen to continue Philippa's legacy and his gift for storytelling, fantastic music and an exciting young band had already proven appealing to a wide range of audiences who had sampled Philippa.
Abram was in he middle of touring Philippa when he was suddenly admitted into hospital on 25th May 2012. His band had 11 dates booked this summer and another 10 confirmed in the autumn with more in the pipeline. Abram had planned to record the Philippa album at the beginning of July ready for an October 2012 release. Additionally he had just completed a two-week Arts Council England funded development process, exploring the theatrical possibilities of the piece. Having spent ten years in the UK forging his career, Abram was planning to take Philippa to the States and reestablish himself as a jazz artist in his own country. He truly believed in the potential of this project to move and impact audiences, both musically and theatrically.
Abram Wilson Quartet performing end of Longing For Love from Philippa.
The $7,000 target
This funding would help two elements of Philippa. There is an unreleased live recording of the Abram Wilson Quartet performing music from Philippa earlier this year which we hope to release so that this incredible music, storytelling and performance can be accessed. We will also use the proceeds to enter the next stage of development in the jazz-theatre production of Philippa. This will involve a further research and writing process, as well as finding musical collaborators to help us develop the copious ideas Abram had already sketched.If we surpass our target that will be fantastic and enable us to make Abram’s project even better, if we don’t then we won’t get any of the donations. Every dollar counts.
Please support our Kickstarter campaign enabling The Abram Wilson Foundation to carry on and finish the project Philippa.
Image by Emile Holba outside Kings Place, London.
his short life Abram taught thousands of people, from young children to
grown adults, to experience music with their hearts through his warmth
of spirit, sincerity and positivity. He was a hugely talented performer
and brought joy to so many lives through his music and his ability to
communicate and celebrate life through his love for jazz.
Before Abram died he said that he still had so much he wanted to do, and we see the fruition of his unfinished project, Philippa, as the first step in making those ambitions a reality. You can help us achieve this by donating to the Abram Wilson Foundation page on kickstarter.com. Abram would want us all to celebrate his life and feel good about the future, and we hope you will support his final project and in so doing, keep Abram's memory and life's work alive.
- (60 days)