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Joshua Abrams is a Focused Force in Jazz and Film Scoring

Joshua Abrams

Photo by Mikel Avery.

If Joshua Abrams is succeeding in jazz, it’s because he’s focused on three very distinct ideals: focus, continuity, and repetition. The Chicago-based bandleader has honed this particular vision of music since 2010, surrounding himself with a rotating group of players he calls the Natural Information Society. Until now, Google searches have yielded little more than “Did you mean…” suggestions, but with Abrams’s latest, Simultonality, the bass player has amassed a larger following than ever before.

“We make the music we want to make, and it will do what it needs to do,” Abrams states matter-of-factly. In other words, his growing popularity is a nice bonus, but the music—and how he makes it—won’t change.

On Simultonality, he’s joined by the same group of musicians with whom he toured in support of his previous record, marking the first time Abrams has recorded with the same group he’s performed with. On past records, Abrams would assemble groups of friends to play—a hodgepodge approach that resulted in free-flowing collaboration. But on Simultonality, the cohesion is evident: The playing is sharp and confident, and anchored to a solid core. Simultonality walks an impressive line between freedom and restraint. We talked with Abrams about his early days in Chicago, Krautrock legends CAN, and the adjustments needed to make a film score.

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