Muhal Richard Abrams

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015
Doris Duke Impact Award, 2014

New York, NY

Muhal Richard Abrams has been at the forefront of the contemporary music scene for over 40 years. As co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), he is an influential leader who has written for a variety of ensembles and whose pioneering compositional and improvisational work can be heard on over two dozen recordings. He most recently recorded Jack DeJohnette’s Made In Chicago (ECM, 2015), which features fellow Chicagoans Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and Larry Gray. He is a Doris Duke Impact Award recipient (2014), an NEA Jazz Master (2010), and a recipient of the Vision Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2010). In 2012, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation presented him with The BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award, and Columbia University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Music. He headlined The Kennedy Center’s 2014-15 jazz season, and continues to serve as President of the New York City Chapter of the AACM as it enters its 50th Anniversary in fall 2015.

  • Photo Credit: Michael Hoefner Photography
  • Muhal Richard Abrams- Expression 1 (2012):
    Expression 1 (2012)
  • Muhal Richard Abrams- Cluster (2010):
    Cluster (2010)
  • Photo Credit: Richarda Abrams

What are the creative challenges you face as an artist?

My greatest challenge is consistently looking inward to find and maintain focus.