Muhal Richard Abrams

Muhal Richard Abrams, born September 19, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, and died October 29, 2017, was an American educator. He was also an administrator, composer, arranger clarinetist, cellist and jazz pianist in free jazz. Abrams was a graduate of DuSable High School, Chicago. He enrolled at Roosevelt University in 1946 for music classes, but he didn’t enjoy it as much as what he was hearing on the streets. He decided to go on his own and study: “I have always had the natural ability to analyze and study things.” I was able to use that ability without even knowing what it was. It was a feeling and I started reading books. Joseph Schillinger’s books were extremely influential in Abrams development. Abrams said: I bought a small spinet keyboard and began to learn how to play it. It was hard work and took a lot of sweat. It took me a while to analyze it, but I soon found myself playing with other musicians. I listened to Charlie Parker, Art Tatum and Bud Powell, and then focused on Duke Ellington for composition. Later, I was able to score scores and learn more about classical composition. Then I started practicing classical pieces on the piano. Abrams first gigs were performing the blues, R

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