Muhal Richard Abrams

Muhal Richard Abrams ( born September 19, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz pianist, clarinetist, and composer.


In addition to a brief study at the Chicago Musical College and Governors State University in Chicago Abrams developed his musical training mainly self-taught. He co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians ( AACM ) and the School of Music of the AACM and is a member of the Board of the TheNational Jazz Service Organization.

As a jazz musician, he has collaborated with artists such as Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Clifford Jordan, Ari Brown, Sonny Stitt, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, James Moody, Mwata Bowden and Eddie Harris. In 1961 he founded with Harris, Donald Garrett, Victor Sproles, Malachi Favors and Roscoe Mitchell 's experimental band; 1963 came the bassist Charles Clark. In 1967, he took his debut album for Delmark Levels and Degrees of Light with musicians like Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre and Thurman Barker on. Abrams ' Experimental Band was the core, from which eventually became the musicians organization AACM. Since the 1970s, Abrams published on the label Black Saint, as his highly acclaimed album Blu Blu Blu 1990, where he worked with John Purcell, Warren Smith and Jack Walrath.

In 1990, he was the first recipient of the international Jazzpar Prize. He taught jazz composition and improvisation, among other things at the Banff Centre in Banff (Canada), at Columbia University, Syracuse University and the BMI Composers Workshop in New York City.

He also composed works for symphonic and chamber orchestra, among other things, were performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kronos Quartet.


2010 Abrams received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. 2012, Columbia University awarded him an honorary doctorate; the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation honored him with the Living Legacy Awardee.


  • Transversion I OP. 6 for symphony orchestra
  • NOVI for symphony orchestra and jazz quartet
  • Variations for Solo Saxophone, Flute, and Chamber Orchestra, 1982
  • Quintet for Voice ( Soprano ), Piano, Harp, Cello and Violin, 1982
  • Improvisation Structures I - II - III - IV - V - VI, 1983
  • Trio for piano solo, 1984
  • Odyssey of King for chamber orchestra, 1984
  • String Quartet 2, 1985
  • Piano Duet 1, 1986
  • Saturation Blue, 1986
  • Folktales '88 for symphony orchestra, 1988
  • What a Man, 1991
  • String Quartet 3, 1992
  • Strings and Things for String Trio, 1992
  • Saxophone Quartet I, 1994
  • New Horizons, 1995


  • Levels and Degrees of Light ( Delmark, 1967)
  • Sight Song, 1975
  • 1- OQA 19 ( Black Saint, 1977)
  • Spihumonesty ( Black Saint, 1979)
  • Mommy And Daddy ( Black Saint, 1980)
  • Duet ( Black Saint, 1981) with Amina Claudine Myers
  • Blues Forever ( Black Saint, 1981)
  • Rejoicing With The Light ( Black Saint, 1983)
  • View from Within ( Black Saint, 1984)
  • Colors in Thirty- Third ( Black Saint, 1986)
  • The Hear Inga Suite ( Black Saint, 1989)
  • Blu Blu Blu ( Black Saint, 1990)
  • Think All, Focus One ( Black Saint, 1994)
  • One Line, Two Views ( New World, 1995)
  • Song For All Black Saint 1995
  • Open Air Meeting ( New World, 1996)
  • The Visibilty of Thought ( Mutable, 2001)
  • Sound Dance (Pi, 2011) with George Lewis