MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS — Levels And Degrees Of Light

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Album · 1968

Tracklist

A1 Levels And Degrees Of Light 10:30
A2 My Thoughts Are My Future - Now And Forever 9:43
B The Bird Song 22:50

CD reissue(Delmark Records ‎– DD-413,1991,US) track list:
1 Levels And Degrees Of Light 10:33
2 The Bird Song 23:00
3 My Thoughts Are My Future - Now And Forever 9:43

Line-up/Musicians

Alto Saxophone – Anthony Braxton
Bass – Charles Clark, Leonard Jones (tracks: B)
Composed By,Clarinet, Piano – Richard Abrams
Drums – Thurman Barker
Tenor Saxophone – Maurice McIntyre
Vibraphone – Gordon Emmanuel (tracks: A1)
Violin – Leroy Jenkins (tracks: B)
Vocals – Penelope Taylor (tracks: A1, A2)
Vocals [Poetry] – David Moore (tracks: B)

About this release

Delmark Records ‎– DS-413 (US)

Side A: Recorded at Sound Studio 07 July 1967
Side B: Recorded at Ter-Mar 21 Dec 1967

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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Levels & Degrees of LightLevels & Degrees of Light
Delmark 1993
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MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS LEVELS AND DEGREES OF LIGHT reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

snobb
"Levels And Degrees Of Light",released more than a half-century ago, is an almost forgotten cornerstone evidence of the entire epoch, and that's a shame. One of AACM founder pianist Muhal Richard Abrams (or simply Richard Abrams at the time of release) debut contains lot of ideas which have been developed for upcoming decades with a great success.

Just three longish compositions, all different but beautiful in their own way. One big surprise is lot of ambient sounds, similar to "white noise" on two longest album's compositions, recalling early synthesizers sound. Not common in jazz, early (rare and really expensive) synthesizers attracted interest of some known pianists, as Paul Bley or Richard Teitelbaum among others,so there are some recordings coming from 70s with use of this instrument,but the biggest surprise is that there on "Levels And Degrees Of Light" no electronic devices are used at all!

Main sources of ambient noise are Gordon Emmanuel vibes on opener and Leroy Jenkins violin on "The Bird Song". On "Levels And Degrees Of Light" classically trained vocalist Penelope Taylor sings over the ambient sounds, with addition of Abrams soloing on clarinet. Album's longest composition "The Bird Song" (filling all B-side on original vinyl release, but stated second in line on CD reissue)contains characteristic for 60s recitative poetry (read by David Moore).

"My Thoughts Are My Future - Now And Forever" which closes digital edition of this album, is shorter and more usual for the time groovy high-energy free jazz composition with staccato piano,sax soloing from Anthony Braxton (most probably his first ever recorded work) and lot of space for drummer Thurman Barker.

The album which probably doesn't sound such a radical from time distance at the day of release was innovative and perfectly illustrated the musical concept of then newly established musical school/movement of innovative Chicagoan artists which is still alive and active nowadays.

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