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October 22, 2008

"Things To Come From Those Now Gone" - Muhal Richard Abrams

I was fortunate enough to find a copy of this at my city library, it truly is a treasure.  I've listened to it three times completely through since obtaining it four days ago.  I've always been into stuff by Abrams or other artists involved with the AACM, but I haven't been able to get me hands dirty in a lot of recordings.  This particular album contains eclectic cuts with styles ranging from abstracted blues, free-form improvisation and even hard bop.

We start off with a subtly beautiful ballad called Ballad For New Souls, which has a tone that is comparative to a score that may have been composed for an Eames film.  The following song, the title track, starts off with a heavy tom section for a minute and a half before ripping into a thunderous assault of free improvising collectivism.  The horns flow freely while Abrams leads them with brilliant comping.  The track appears to be quicker than it is and then we step away  while Ella Jackson sings a short, slow tempo piece complementing Abrams called How Are You?.  

I particularly fell in love with the closing cut, March of The Transients, which is a strongly written composition with the intensity that could be paired with an action movie sequence.  It's stylized more like hard/post bop, comparable to Joe Henderson or Andrew Hill.  Abrams' solo floats freely and is followed by the horn ensemble reminding us of the theme using basic chord changes.  The band then trades eighths with the drummer a few times before returning to the composition closing out the album.
1972 - Delmark.
Muhal Richard Abrams - piano; Wallace McMillan - flute, sax; Edwin Daugherty, Richard Brown - sax, Emanuel Cranshaw - vibes; Rufus Reid - bass; Steve McCall, Wilbur Campbell - drums; Ella Jackson - vocals.

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