Black Studies, Books for the News, Chicago, History, Music

The collective history of the AACM

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Today’s New York Times is running a piece on author George E. Lewis’s new book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music—the authoritative historical account of one of America’s most influential avant-garde jazz collectives. Founded in 1965, many icons of the avant garde, musicians like Anthony Braxton and Leo Wadada Smith, have joined its ranks. And many of them continue to play as members of the collective today. The NYT article includes information on several upcoming events in NYC including a special book release concert happening next Friday (May 9th) at the Community Church of New York. From the NYT:

The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, [is] an organization that has fostered some of the most vital American avant-garde music of the last 40 years.
Though noncommercial, often pointedly conceptual and unabashedly arcane, this music has had a profound influence over the years on several generations of experimental musicians worldwide.
The scene plays out vividly in A Power Stronger Than Itself: The A.A.C.M. and Experimental Music, an important book by the trombonist-composer-scholar George Lewis due out from the University of Chicago Press this month. Reconstructing that inaugural meeting from audio tapes, Mr. Lewis conveys not only Mr. Abrams’s aim but also the vigorous debate begun by his notion of “original music.” (Whose music? How original?) From the start, its clear, the association expressed its firm ideals partly through collective discourse.
Next Friday night another sort of discourse will unfold at the Community Church of New York in Murray Hill, when the association convenes a panel discussion with a handful of its current members, including Mr. Lewis, the multireedist Henry Threadgill and the pianist and vocalist Amina Claudine Myers. The conversation will precede a concert featuring Mr. Lewis and Mr. Abrams in an improvising trio with the trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

You can read the full article on the NYT website, or see an excerpt from the book. To find out more about the show navigate to the AACM’s New York chapter website.