Remembering Muhal Richard Abrams

September 19, 1930 – October 29, 2017

Experimental Band at the 2015 Chicago Jazz Festival

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Educator, administrator, composer, arranger, clarinetist, cellist, and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams (born Richard Lewis Abrams) was born October 29, 2017 in Chicago.

A graduate of the legendary DuSable High School on Chicago’s South Side, he was self taught on the piano and studied the music of Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson for insights into composition.

After an apprenticeship playing the blues, R & B and hard bop jazz as a sideman with musicians like Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Woody Shaw and Eddie Henderson, his work took an experimental turn which included co-founding the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1965.

George Lewis:

“Muhal spent his life in service to us, his fellow musicians, composers and the world.”

“He was a great teacher, but he also taught us to teach ourselves and to teach other people”

Muhal speaks:

The Chicago Tribune, his local paper, did an excellent short article on his life. Click here for it.


Muhal Richard Abrams – piano, composer
LaRoy Wallace McMillan – baritone saxophone, flute
Roscoe Mitchell – alto sax
Henry Threadgill – alto sax
Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
George Lewis – trombone
Leonard Jones – bass
Amina Claudine Myers – piano
Thurman Barker – drums, vibraphone
Reggie Nicholson – drums, marimba


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