This is a past event.

Muhal Richard Abrams 

When: Sun., Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $20, $15 in advance
Muhal Richard Abrams, who turns 84 next month, hasn’t needed to prove anything for a very long time. Nearly five decades ago he cofounded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and as that organization’s influential leader he set a pristine example for generations of artists likewise intent on brushing aside the limitations imposed by the term “jazz.” He composed and arranged sophisticated, improvisation-driven tunes as rigorous as classical music but free to go anywhere his spirit—focused by prodigious technical discipline—saw fit. Last year he participated in a remarkable concert to kick off the Chicago Jazz Festival, playing in a collective nominally led by drummer Jack DeJohnette, with bassist Larry Gray and reedists Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill; Abrams’s engagement in the performance was complete, his architectural lines lucid and illuminating. Tonight he’ll play solo (his previous such appearance was at Symphony Center in November), a format where he ranges far and wide among a profusion of ideas with even-handed assurance. On his most recent solo release, 2007’s Vision Towards Essence (Pi), Abrams uses commanding left-hand figures as pivot points for upper-register excursions in which melodies fracture and reassemble themselves in patient arcs, interrupted by potent, shimmering asides. If you want to appreciate a performance like this, it’s wise to let your mind immerse itself completely in the music. —Peter Margasak

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