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A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music

by

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s, African American artists and musicians grappled with new language and forms inspired by the black nationalist turn in the Civil Rights movement.and#160;The Freedom Principle, which accompanies an exhibition on the topic at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, traces their history and shows how it continues to inform contemporary artists around the world.

The book coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a still-flourishing organization of Chicago musicians who challenge jazzandrsquo;s boundaries. Combining archival materials such as brochures, photographs, sheet music, and record covers with contemporary art work that respond to the 1960s Black Arts Movement,and#160;The Freedom Principleand#160;explores this tradition of cultural expression from, as one AACM group used to put it, the andldquo;ancient to the future.andrdquo; Essays by curators Naomi Beckwith and Dieter Roelstraete, AACM member and historian George Lewis, art historian Rebecca Zorach, and gallerist John Corbett accompany beautiful reproductions of work by artists such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Barbaraand#160;Jones-Hogu, Cauleen Smith, Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, and many more. A roundtable conversation features Beckwith, Roelstraete, curator Hamza Walker, current AACM member and cellist Tomeka Reid, and artist Romi Crawford, with additional comments from poet and scholar Fred Moten. A chronology and curated playlist of AACM-related recordings are also included. The resulting book offers a rich sense of a global movement, with crucial roots in Chicago, driven by a commitment to experimentation, improvisation, collective action, and the pursuit of freedom.

Synopsis:

Founded in 1965 and still active today, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is an American institution with an international reputation. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as a teenager in 1971, establishes the full importance and vitality of the AACM with this communal history, written with a symphonic sweep that draws on a cross-generational chorus of voices and a rich collection of rare images.

Moving from Chicago to New York to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCalland#8217;s kitchen table to Carnegie Hall, A Power Stronger Than Itself uncovers a vibrant, multicultural universe and brings to light a major piece of the history of avant-garde music and art.

Synopsis:

Founded in 1965 and still active today, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is an American institution with an international reputation. From its working-class roots on the South Side of Chicago, the AACM went on to forge an extensive legacy of cultural and social experimentation, crossing both musical and racial boundaries. The success of individual members and ensembles such as Muhal Richard Abrams, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Anthony Braxton has been matched by the enormous influence of the collective itself in inspiring a generation of musical experimentalists. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as a teenager in 1971, establishes the full importance and vitality of the AACM with this communal history, written with a symphonic sweep that draws on a cross-generational chorus of voices and a rich collection of rare images.

Faced with shrinking economic opportunities in Chicago and a segregated music industry, the original members of the AACM found inspiration in the civil rights movement's call for change through self-determination and collective action. These musicians pooled their individual strengths in a new organization powerfully committed to a forward-thinking approach to musical creation and performance. Evolving a range of experimental methods, from invented instruments and unusual musical scores to improvisation and the early use of computers, the AACM challenged the borders separating classical music and jazz.

Moving from Chicago to New York to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall's kitchen table to Carnegie Hall, A Power Stronger Than Itself uncovers a vibrant, multicultural universe and brings to light a major piece of the history of avant-garde music and art.

About the Author

George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002, Lewis has made over 120 recordings as composer or performer, and his publications on experimental music appear regularly in scholarly and popular journals.

 

Table of Contents

Preface: The AACM and American Experimentalism 

Introduction: An AACM Book: Origins, Antecedents, Objectives, Methods 

Chapter Summaries 

Acknowledgments 

Chapter 1: Foundations and Prehistory

 Coming North: From Great Migration to Great Depression 

 Early Musical Experiences 

 Improvisation and Autodidacticism in 1950s Chicago 

 The End of an Era 

Chapter 2: New Music, New York 

 Cultures of Spontaneity: Integrationism and the Two Avant-Gardes 

 Beyond a Bebop Boundary: The Challenge of New Music 

 Critical Responses: Anger, Noise, Failure 

 A Far Cry from New York: Segregation and Chicago Music 

Chapter 3: The Development of the Experimental Band 

 Alternative Pedagogies of Experimental Music 

 Eyes on the Sparrow: The First New Chicagoans 

Chapter 4: Founding the Collective 

 Urban Decline and the Turn to Communitarianism 

 Born on the Kitchen Table: Conceiving the Association 

 Naming Ceremony: Black Power and Black Institutions 

Chapter 5: First Fruits 

 The First Year: Concerts, Critics, and Issues 

 New Arrivals and the University of Chicago 

 Travel, Recording, and Intermedia 

 Memories of the Sun: The AACM and Sun Ra 

Chapter 6: The AACM Takes Off 

 The Black Arts Movement in Chicago 

 New Arrivals and New Ideas 

 The AACM School 

 Performing and Self-Determination 

 Cultural Nationalism in Postmodern Transition 

Chapter 7: Americans in Paris 

 Conceiving the World Audience 

 Le Nouveau Paris Noir: Collectivity, Competition, and Excitement 

 The Politics of Culture: Black Power and May 1968 

 Die Emanzipation: The Rise of European Free Improvisation 

 Homecoming 

Chapter 8: The AACMs Next Wave 

 More from the Midwest: The Black Artists Group 

 New Elbows on the Table: The AACMs Second Wave 

 Ten Years After: The Association Comes of Age 

Chapter 9: The AACM in New York 

 Migration and Invasion 

 Europe and the Lofts 

 Beyond a Binary: The AACM and the Crisis in Criticism 

 Diversity and Its Discontents: New American Music after the Jazz Age 

Chapter 10: The New Regime in Chicago 

 Generational Shifts in the Collective 

 The Two Cultures and a New Chapter 

 Form and Funding: Philanthropy and Black Music in the 1970s 

 Strains, Swirls, and Splits 

Chapter 11: Into the Third Decade 

 The 1980s: Canons and Heterophony 

 Great Black Music: The Local and the Global 

 Leading the Third Wave: The New Women of the AACM 

Chapter 12: Transition and Reflections 

 New York in Transition 

 Chicago in Reflection 

 Jai deux amours . . . 

Afterword 

 The Way of the Arranger 

 The Individual 

 The Book 

 Expansion and Sacrifice 

 Boxing with Tradition 

 Regrets 

 Survival 

 Contemplating the Post-jazz Continuum 

 Atmospheres 

 Futures 

Appendix A: List of Interviews Conducted by the Author 

Appendix B: Selected AACM Recordings 

Bibliography 

Notes 

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226476964
Author:
Lewis, George E.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Beckwith, Naomi
Author:
Roelstraete, Dieter
Subject:
History & Criticism - General
Subject:
Genres & Styles - Jazz
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Subject:
African American Studies
Subject:
Music -- History and criticism.
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20091031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
300 color plates
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Ethnomusicology
Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » Theology
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Analytical

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226476964 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Founded in 1965 and still active today, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is an American institution with an international reputation. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as a teenager in 1971, establishes the full importance and vitality of the AACM with this communal history, written with a symphonic sweep that draws on a cross-generational chorus of voices and a rich collection of rare images.

Moving from Chicago to New York to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCalland#8217;s kitchen table to Carnegie Hall, A Power Stronger Than Itself uncovers a vibrant, multicultural universe and brings to light a major piece of the history of avant-garde music and art.

"Synopsis" by , Founded in 1965 and still active today, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is an American institution with an international reputation. From its working-class roots on the South Side of Chicago, the AACM went on to forge an extensive legacy of cultural and social experimentation, crossing both musical and racial boundaries. The success of individual members and ensembles such as Muhal Richard Abrams, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Anthony Braxton has been matched by the enormous influence of the collective itself in inspiring a generation of musical experimentalists. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as a teenager in 1971, establishes the full importance and vitality of the AACM with this communal history, written with a symphonic sweep that draws on a cross-generational chorus of voices and a rich collection of rare images.

Faced with shrinking economic opportunities in Chicago and a segregated music industry, the original members of the AACM found inspiration in the civil rights movement's call for change through self-determination and collective action. These musicians pooled their individual strengths in a new organization powerfully committed to a forward-thinking approach to musical creation and performance. Evolving a range of experimental methods, from invented instruments and unusual musical scores to improvisation and the early use of computers, the AACM challenged the borders separating classical music and jazz.

Moving from Chicago to New York to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall's kitchen table to Carnegie Hall, A Power Stronger Than Itself uncovers a vibrant, multicultural universe and brings to light a major piece of the history of avant-garde music and art.

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