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Young at Heart/Wise in Time
Muhal Richard Abrams
Young at Heart/Wise in Time
Genres: Jazz, Pop
This CD reissue of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams's first record as a bandleader evinces both his singular focus on the piano and his command of an ensemble playing a difficult score. The music is highly wrought...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Muhal Richard Abrams
Title: Young at Heart/Wise in Time
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Delmark
Release Date: 8/27/1996
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 038153042325, 038153042318, 038153042325

This CD reissue of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams's first record as a bandleader evinces both his singular focus on the piano and his command of an ensemble playing a difficult score. The music is highly wrought yet full of free space for expressive possibility. His keyboard technique unfolds gorgeously, from full piano runs that teeter into glissandi and shaken tonal foundations, to a jarring, ear-popping life that rattles the bones. With his young group of up-and-coming Chicago talent, Abrams presented his 21-plus minute "Wise in Time" with a breathtaking balance: composed and improvised passages happen in tandem; space and density collide; tonality and atonality chatter together. In short, Abrams's is a historical quilt work that decodes a great deal of other jazz avant-garde works while standing brightly, complexly on its own. --Andrew Bartlett

CD Reviews

Landmark of the Chicago Avant-Garde
Jason Gubbels | San Diego, CA | 07/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Muhal Richard Abrams has never really gotten the attention nor respect he deserves, at least outside of the Chicago jazz scene. Maybe it's because he's so difficult to pigeonhole, leaping as he does from numerous camps and mixing everything from late modernism to gospel into one glorious whole. Maybe it's his steadfast refusal to sell out and dumb down his compositions. Maybe, as critic Gary Giddins has surmised, it's his somewhat exotic first name that frightens people off. Whatever the case, the man is a giant and deserves the reputation so many contemporary jazz artists grant him. This 1969 album consists of only two tracks, both lengthy explorations of opposite ends of the New Sound in jazz. 'Young At Heart' is a thirty minute improvistion on solo piano, in which Abrams touches upon ragtime and stride along with the louder bursts of atonality and lyrical passages of great beauty. It's an amazing accomplishment. 'Wise In Time' is a bit more difficult, a twenty-minute explosion of noise, featuring two players who would go on to become giants in their own right - Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet (here just going as Leo Smith), and Henry Threadgill on alto. A truly wonderful album, blessed with intelligence, energy, beauty and variety."
A Beautiful Work
MF | Chicago | 02/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The standard comment on Muhal Richard Abrams is that he is more important for his work behind the scenes at AACM than for his recordings. True or not, Abrams is a brilliant musician who deserves to be heard.

The two tracks on this date show the variety of styles that Abrams can work with. The 29:20 "Young at Heart" s a piano solo that repeats a variety of themes while continuing to develop as he plays. I'm not sure if call this "free" or "avant" jazz, but it's far from the standards. Often reflective and moving, it's a beautiful work.

"Wise in Time" is an ensemble piece in which Abrams continues to play with great sensitivity. Lashley and Barker provide a strong backing, as Abrams, Leo Smith, and, in particular, Henry Threadgill, play burning solos.

If you are interested in AACM, you need this one."
IntuitionDigression | Italy | 08/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Young at Heart" is a solo piano performance, and is a chef-d'oeuvre. A deep tension is created through a sagacious alternation of vigorous chords, stupefying pauses, lyrical harmonizations. In this piece, Abrams shows a consummate art in using sound and silence interchangeably. Not exactly silence, because notes keep resounding and never really fade out completely, but leave traces that are left floating freely in the air. Abrams makes use of a vast array of musical devices to astound the listener, who is strucked by the beauty of this audacious 29-minute full improvisation. One finds resonances, reverberations and dissonances, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic oxymorons. The pianist takes the listener by the hand, and leads him in a world where echoes of Cecil Taylor's clusters of chords and idyllic openings redolent of Bill Evans are perfect siblings; where tradition meets blues, where blues meets stride, where stride meets late 19th classical music. This piece is a major achievement in music. Listen to it in the dark, with closed eyes. The second track, "Wise in Time", features an interesting quintet in a free set, with ebullient solos by all musicians."