Muhal Richard Abrams

Think All, Focus One

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The seven compositions by Muhal Richard Abrams on this release can be considered part of a suite. Although there are no memorable melodies, the music flows from one piece to another and stays consistently stimulating; the only exception is the closing "Think All, Focus One" which has Abrams on synthesizer and seems quite directionless. Otherwise many moods are covered, from a dirge-like "The Harmonic Veil" and the complex but often exuberant "Crossbeams" to the swinging (in its own fashion) "Scaledance" and a funky jam on "Encore." The highly expressive trumpeter Eddie Allen (who is masterful with a wa-wa mute) is often the lead voice although guitarist David Gilmore also makes a strong impression and the leader's piano (which often drops out) keeps the musicians on track; tenorman Eugene Ghee, trombonist Alfred Patterson, bassist Brad Jones and drummer Reggie Nicholson complete the unit. Due to the frequently dense ensembles of the septet and the complexity of the music, this set will take several listens to fully absorb, but it is well worth the effort.

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