Arts and Culture

“Float Rumble Rest” is an eight-minute instrumental tribute to Muhammad Ali composed by the Louisville Orchestra’s Teddy Abrams. The genre-straddling work swells between subdued and energetic keyboard sections, before finally settling into sonorous guitar contributions by My Morning Jacket front-man and Louisville native, Jim James. 

In a recent release, Gill Holland — the founder of sonaBLAST! Records, which produced the record — said that he had run into Abrams on Saturday night at a record release party for one of his artists.

(Disclosure: Holland is a member of Louisville Public Media’s board of directors.)

“I had talked to Teddy about recording something with sonaBLAST! before, and I said, ‘Hey, I saw you played that tribute to Ali downtown. Can you write a song tomorrow?’” Holland said. “‘We have a new distributor who can have it out worldwide on iTunes and elsewhere in about 72 hours!’”

ali artCourtesy sonaBlast! Records

Holland pitched the idea to Kevin Ratterman, the producer of My Morning Jacket, who starting recording with Abrams on June 6.

“And then on Monday I get this email from Kevin saying, ‘Hey bud, this is coming out great. We recorded this morning and I’m editing now and building an Eno-esque outro to tag onto the end, which I’m getting Jim [James] to lay some guitar down on,’” said Holland.

Abrams says “Float Rumble Rest” is inspired by Ali’s famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” quote, along with his many aphorisms about perseverance, dedication, and the will to be “the greatest.”

“Learning from Ali’s story and message, I’ve found both personal inspiration and a call for the world to be a far more peaceful, empathetic, and tolerant place,” Abrams said. “I hope that, in a small way, this piece of music can help keep his beautiful story alive and his legend may help guide the species in future generations.”

This composition is the most recent by Abrams, who has written some 15 works for the Louisville Orchestra since beginning his tenure there two seasons ago. “Float Rumble Rest” is available for download with all proceeds benefiting the Ali Center. More information is available here.