All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

319

Muhal Richard Abrams: Vision Towards Essence

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
This is a live solo piano set from 1998's Guelph Jazz Festival, in Canada. Chicagoan-cum-New York pianist Muhal Richard Abrams performs the album's title piece, which is around an hour long and is divided into three parts. Ultimately, there are only the tiniest breaks in this improvisation and these demarcations only exist for listening convenience. Once Abrams begins, he's off on a journey that's so organized that it appears to possess the discipline of a premeditated composition. He views this solo improvising setting as the peak of his own artistic expression, but Abrams also contributes in the visual zone, by painting the disc's cover art.

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.

Title: Vision Towards Essence | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
SoundDance

SoundDance

Black Saint
2011

buy
Spectrum

Spectrum

Mutable Music
2010

buy
Afrisong

Afrisong

Black Saint
2009

buy
Vision Towards Essence

Vision Towards Essence

Pi Recordings
2008

buy
Streaming

Streaming

Pi Recordings
2007

buy
Vision Towards Essence

Vision Towards Essence

Pi Recordings
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "The Source" CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "First Light" CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "80 Years" CD/LP/Track Review 80 Years
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "The Failure of Words" CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "New Angle" CD/LP/Track Review New Angle
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Seven Secrets" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Secrets
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2017