Levels and Degrees of Light

Levels and Degrees of Light

by Muhal Richard Abrams


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Levels and Degrees of Light

Levels and Degrees of Light was the first recording under Muhal Richard Abrams' name and was a landmark album that launched the first in a long line of beautiful, musical salvos from the AACM toward the mainstream jazz world. The title track finds Abrams broadly tracing out some of the territory he would continue to explore in succeeding decades, an ethereal, mystic quality (evinced by Penelope Taylor's otherworldly vocalizing and Gordon Emmanuel's shimmering vibes) balanced by a harsh and earthy bluesiness set forth by the leader's piercing clarinet. "The Bird Song" begins with a fine, dark poetry recitation by David Moore (oh! for the days when one didn't approach a poem on a jazz album with great trepidation) before evanescing into a whirlwind of percussion, bird whistles, and violin (the latter by Leroy Jenkins in one of his first recorded appearances). When the band enters at full strength with Anthony Braxton (in his first recording session), the effect is explosive and liberating, as though Abrams' band had stood on the shoulders of Coltrane, Coleman, and Taylor and taken a massive, daring leap into the future. It's a historic performance. The final track offers several unaccompanied solo opportunities, spotlighting Abrams' sumptuous piano and the under-recognized bass abilities of Charles Clark. This is a milestone recording and belongs in the collection of any modern jazz fan.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/18/1993
Label: Delmark
UPC: 0038153041328
catalogNumber: 413

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Muhal Richard Abrams   Primary Artist,Clarinet,Piano
Dave Moore   Voices
Anthony Braxton   Alto Saxophone
Leroy Jenkins   Violin
Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre   Tenor Saxophone
Thurman Barker   Percussion,Drums
Charles Clark   Bass
Gordon Emmanuel   Vibes
Leonard Jones   Bass
Penelope Taylor   Vocals
Carl Clark   Bass
Maurice McIntyre   Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

Muhal Richard Abrams   Art Direction
Stu Black   Engineer
Robert G. Koester   Producer
David Moore   Poetry
Steve Wagner   Producer

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