“He was always telling us, ‘Go to the library.’ Practicing every day wasn’t enough; he wanted us to be serious. ‘Go get books — you don’t need a lot of money,’ he told us. He’d already taught himself orchestration and how to play clarinet; he had studied all the piano players. And yet he still has the child-like attitude toward things — he was full of wonder. Around the piano, even today, you get the sense that he’s still a kid.”Quoted in the liner notes for the ECM disc Made in Chicago, the recording of an August 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival concert by DeJohnette’s Special Legends Edition Chicago: Muhal Richard Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell, and Henry Threadgill. I wrote about the concert in 2013. The recording was released this week, and it’s a killer.
Here, from ECM, is a short film about Made in Chicago.
[“Still a kid”: In August 2013, Muhal Richard Abrams was almost eighty-three.]