Ahamefule J. Oluo is a jazz trumpeter and composer who received a year's worth of advanced education in music from Cornish College of the Arts and has played with numerous local and national acts—Das Racist, John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz, Macklemore, Julian Priester. And he is a member of the powerhouse band Industrial Revelation, which includes Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Josh Rawlings (keyboards), and D'Vonne Lewis (drums). Oluo is also a standup comic and a pretty damn decent writer—in 2011, he published a well-received piece about his father, a Nigerian he never really knew, for this paper. As if all of this were not enough, Oluo is also something of a jazz historian. He knows not only how to play the music, but also how to explain its past trends and developments, and how to read its many recordings in their historical contexts (Charles Mingus's The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch!, Max Roach's We Insist!). Combine this knowledge with a personality that is often drawn to the dark side of the human experience—madness, misfortune, sickness, violent death (much like those strange flowers that bloom only at night, open at nightfall, and wither at dawn)—and you have a rich resource for morbid tales of musicians who came into life with so much promise and left it in pain and misery.
Because the trumpet is Oluo's instrument, I decided to ask him for a brief history of the sad and terrible things that have happened to influential jazz trumpeters. He began with Lee Morgan.