Abrams, Muhal Richard (jazz) [Abrahams, Richard]
- Lee Jeske
- , revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Chicago, Sept 19, 1930; d New York, Oct 29, 2017). American pianist, composer, and administrator. He studied piano from the age of 17, attended the Chicago Musical College for four years, and first worked professionally in 1948. From 1950 he wrote arrangements for the saxophonist King Fleming and from 1957 to 1959 he played hard bop in Walter Perkins’s group MJT + 3, for which he also wrote arrangements and compositions. For several years he accompanied leading soloists during their visits to Chicago, including Miles Davis, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, and Johnny Griffin, and in 1963 he recorded with Eddie Harris. Of greater importance was his role in forming the Experimental Band (1961), one of the earliest free-jazz groups, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (1965), a musicians’ cooperative. As the association’s first president he encouraged young musicians to become familiar with the entire history of jazz and at the same time to experiment with new forms; he exerted a profound influence on such performers as Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, and George Lewis (ii). He toured Europe in ...