Blog: MCA DNA Index

Remembering a Jazz Great

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Bruno Bollaert, Jack DeJohnette’s ‘Made in Chicago’, 2015
Photo © Bruno Bollaert

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This past Sunday we lost an important creative mind: pianist, painter, and founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Muhal Richard Abrams. Abrams had a long history with the MCA and left a lasting mark on Chicago. Curator Naomi Beckwith wrote, "In my mind, there would be no Freedom Principle show without Muhal's inspiration to experiment with objects and sound. His treasure trove of ephemera was the basis of so many images in the catalogue. Though he came to be known as a New Yorker, he always kept a house on the South Side of Chicago where his artworks and the history of the AACM lives to this day." In honor of his life and legacy, we are sharing a few mementos of his time in Chicago, his remarkable poster collection, and his influence on another early member of the AACM.

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Excerpt from an interview with Douglas Ewart for The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, 2015. Video © MCA Chicago.

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Muhal Richard Abrams’s paintings installed in The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, MCA Chicago Jul 11–Nov 22, 2015
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

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there would be no Freedom Principle show without Muhal’s inspiration.
—Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator

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Muhal Abrams and the AACM Big Band, 1971
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago, Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Concert of Modern Music, Richard Abrams Experimental Band poster, 1965. Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
AACM performs Hope, 1970. Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
AACM presents The Creative Construction Company of Chicago, 1970
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago, Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Kalaparusha and the Light, 1966. Courtesy Of Muhal Richard Abrams
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
AACM Concert Series poster, 1974. Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
AACM Festival poster. Courtesy of Muhal Richard Abrams
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

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Art-Forward Costumes