Black Studies, Chicago, History, Music, Reviews, Sociology

The monumental AACM

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In 1965 a group of Chicago musicians dedicated to exploring the frontiers of American jazz banded together to create the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians—one of the most radical and influential musical collectives in the history of the genre. Now, author George E. Lewis has chronicled the definitive history of the movement in, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, a book music critic Peter Margasak praises in today’s Chicago Reader for “[going] deeper into the formation and development of the AACM than any previous history, and as a formal acknowledgment of the group’s enormous importance and influence….”
Margasak’s article continues:

In the early 60s the marketplace was indifferent or hostile to creative jazz, and the AACM was the first sustained musician-run group to support it, producing legendary artists like Anthony Braxton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Henry Threadgill. The organization remains active today, led by reedist Douglas Ewart and flutist Nicole Mitchell, and its members still display the fierce determination and brilliant creativity that made its name a seal of quality.

And on Tuesday, April 15, 4:15 pm you’ll have a chance to see some of the AACM’s brilliant creativity yourself if you head down to the Chicago Cultural Center’s Cassidy Theater where the author along with some of AACM’s current members will deliver a live performance and discussion of “the history of the AACM and strategies independent artists can use to form similar collectives.”
The book is officially slated for release next month, but in the meantime, you can read the rest of the Reader article online, or see an excerpt from the book.
Time Out magazine also weighs in with an article published in their most recent issue. You can find it online here.