Muhal Richard Abrams is the grand patriarch of the AACM. He set-up shop on the ground floor as a co-founder of the Association in 1965 and has since served as one of the guiding forces behind its direction and longevity. Things To Come From Those Now Gone was Abrams third album for Delmark. It’s the last to be reissued by the label and remains one of Abrams most eclectic offerings. As if in deference to his position as educator the gathering of players on hand for the date is largely made up of AACM students. Abrams makes use of the musicians’ blossoming talents in a broad variety of harmonic and melodic ways. The poignant “Ballad For New Souls” merges his plaintive keys with McMillian’s ethereal flute in a reverie, which is both soothing and seductive. The title piece charges the collective batteries in a different manner thanks to McCall’s rolling mallets and the one-two punch of Daugherty an McMillian’s saxophones.“How Are You?” shifts emotional gears once again wedding Jackson’s keening soprano wails to Abrams’ lyric chordal movements. Jackson’s command over her vocal tract is at times suspect, but artistry of the tune remains intact nonetheless. Brown moves from fluttering grace to emotive stridency over the space of “In Retrospect” as Abrams metronomic clusters keep time. On “1 And 4 Plus 2 And 7,” a duet which spreads across nearly a quarter of the disc’s duration Abrams makes the dubious decision to switch to synthesizer half-way through. His electric apparatus ends up sounding akin to a harpsichord and is actually quite an intriguing change from his acoustic keyboard. Unfortunately the interaction characteristic of the piece’s first half is largely absent in the second and it sounds frequently like Abrams is feeling out his instrument rather than employing it with assurance. “March Of the Transients,” a vehicle fueled on high octane hard-bop, closes the set out with spirited solos by the saxophonists and the leader. Overall, though a mixed bag both in terms of content and quality this disc still packs an appreciable artistic wallop and is a welcome return to circulation.
Tracks/Players:Muhal Richard Abrams- piano; with- Ballad For New Souls: Wallace McMillan- flute/ Things To Come From Those Now Gone: Wallace McMillan- alto saxophone; Edwin Daugherty- alto saxophone; Reggie Willis- bass; Steve McCall- drums; Wilbur Campbell- drums/ How Are You?: Ella Jackson- vocal; Emmanuel Cranshaw- vibes; Rufus Reid- bass/ In Retrospect: Ari Brown- tenor saxophone; Rufus Reid- bass/ Ballad For Old Souls: Emmanuel Cranshaw- vibes; Rufus Reid- bass/ 1 And 4 Plus 2 And 7: Steve McCall- drums; Abrams- synthesizer/ March of the Transients: Wallace McMillan- alto saxophone; Edwin Daugherty- tenor saxophone; Reggie Willis- bass; Wilbur Campbell- drums.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.