Muhal Richard Abrams (born Richard Lewis Abrams; September 19, 1930 – October 29, 2017) was an American educator, administrator, composer, arranger, clarinetist, cellist, and jazz pianist in the free jazzmedium. He recorded and toured the United States, Canada and Europe with his orchestra, sextet, quartet, duo and as a solo pianist. His musical affiliations constitute a “who’s who” of the jazz world, including Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Art Farmer, Sonny Stitt, Anthony Braxton, and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Abrams’s mother, Edna, was born in Memphis. His father, Milton, was born in Alabama and moved with his parents to Chicago. Richard Lewis Abrams was born there, the second of nine children, on September 19, 1930. His father became a self-employed handyman; his mother was a housewife.