Muhal Richard Abrams: Vision Towards Essence (2008)
In the beginning, Abrams is in an exploratory frame, caressing the lowest bass keys and then swishing across to a Far Eastern opalescence, as if he's hearing Indonesian gamelan tones in his head. These wanderings always return to a bassy punctuation and the runs become increasingly entangled, operating several lines simultaneously. He cuts back to clear space, partnering high and low note extremes in a field of minimalism. The piece has a mysteriously glowing quality, like an exotic invocation. Abrams releases a continuous avalanche of notes, a cascade of chiming. It's as if these are all threaded baubles, stretched taut with dramatic flourishes. About half-way through, a lurching gallop develops and the distant ghost of ragtime passes by, aggressive stabs becoming more frequent, then disintegrating into repeated bell- clusters.
For an entire hour, Abrams controls the development with an iron fist, in a perfectly measured progression of styles that are nevertheless connected and undergoing a very gradual metamorphosis.
Track Listing: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.
Personnel: Muhal Richard Abrams: piano.
Record Label: Pi Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz