Levels and Degrees of Light

Levels and Degrees of Light
Studio album by Muhal Richard Abrams
Released 1968
Recorded 7 June and 21 December 1967
Genre Jazz
Length 43:16
Label Delmark
Muhal Richard Abrams chronology
Levels and Degrees of Light
Young at Heart/Wise in Time
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Penguin Guide to Jazz[2]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide[3]

Levels and Degrees of Light is the debut album by Muhal Richard Abrams which was released on the Delmark label in 1968 and features performances of three of Abrams' compositions by Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Charles Clark, Gordon Emmanuel, Maurice McIntyre, Thurman Barker and Leonard Jones with vocals by Penelope Taylor and a poetry recitation by David Moore.


The Allmusic review by Brian Olewnick calling it "a landmark album that launched the first in a long line of beautiful, musical salvos from the AACM toward the mainstream jazz world... This is a milestone recording and belongs in the collection of any modern jazz fan".[4] The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded the album 3 stars stating "Levels and Degrees of Light would be a slightly difficult record to place in a blindfold test. It is certainly not untypical of the Chicago experimentation of the period, except it seems much less chaotic, much more responsive to European tradition".[2] The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide said the album "features an intriguing first side with wordless vocal and several AACM stalwarts...but falls apart in the poorly recorded wall of sound that covers side two".[3]

Track listing

All compositions by Muhal Richard Abrams except as indicated

  1. "Levels and Degrees of Light" - 10:33
  2. "The Bird Song" (Abrams, David Moore) - 23:00
  3. "My Thoughts Are My Future - Now and Forever" - 9:43



  1. Allmusic review
  2. 1 2 Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2006) [1992]. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (8th ed.). London: Penguin. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0-141-02327-4.
  3. 1 2 Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 3. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.
  4. Olewnick, B.Allmusic Review accessed April 1, 2009
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