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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Muhal Richard Abrams, solo jazz pianist, will perform Wednesday, April 6, at 8:30 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.
The performance, which is free and open to the public, is part of the ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesdays series.
A self-taught musician who was influenced by the bop innovations of the late Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, Muhal Richard Abrams is a visionary composer, arranger and pianist. He is considered a beacon in the jazz community as the 1965 co-founder (and first president) of Chicago's legendary vanguard music institution, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). He crafted an educational, artistic and business home network for many legendary bands, such as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Air, and Anthony Braxton's various aggregations.
Abrams is well-known as a mentor to three generations of younger musicians, serving as a bandleader and professor at the Banff Center, Columbia University, Syracuse University, and the BMI Composers' Workshop.
His 1967 debut, Levels and Degrees of Light on Chicago's Delmark label, set the course for his own career and that of many of his AACM contemporaries, including Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith, and Anthony Braxton.
Subsequent recordings range from boogie-woogie to bebop to free improv, as evidenced by "Sightsong" and "Rejoicing With the Light," both on the Italian Black Saint label.
"Novi," his first symphony for orchestra and jazz quartet, has been performed at various festivals, and the Kronos Quartet performed his "String Quartet No. 2" to critical acclaim.
"As one of the select national endowment for the arts 'jazz masters', the opportunity to hear Mr. Abrams live in the intimate setting of the Natalie Davis Rooke Recital Hall is certain to be a rare and memorable opportunity," said Phil Haynes, founder of the Jazz at Bucknell chamber series.
The series presents international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.
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