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By George E. Lewis

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Founded in 1965 and nonetheless lively this day, the organization for the development of inventive Musicians (AACM) is an American establishment with a global attractiveness. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as in 1971, establishes the whole significance and energy of the AACM with this communal background, written with a symphonic sweep that attracts on a cross-generational refrain of voices and a wealthy selection of infrequent images.

Moving from Chicago to manhattan to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall’s kitchen desk to Carnegie corridor, A strength superior Than Itself uncovers a colourful, multicultural universe and brings to gentle a massive piece of the historical past of avant-garde track and art.

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

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4 The case of the Jazz Composers Guild is reviewed at some length, and I also review both the published critical opposition to these musician-led efforts to control the conditions of their work, and the internal debates and dislocations surrounding those efforts. The chapter’s account of the decline of South Side jazz clubs in the 1960s situates musical practice as a species of cultural and economic production which suffered as part of an overall descent into crisis, not only in Chicago’s black community, but in black communities around the country—a fact of obviously crucial significance that cannot be gleaned from cursory scans of sales figures.

Perhaps most gratifying of all, in these new texts, complex ideas were worked out at sufficient length and in detail in a manner that seemed compatible with my experience as an artist. Thus, as I told an interviewer/friend in 2002 regarding the progress of this book, “I’ve made some concessions to narrativity. ” Indeed, in the nine years since I began this project, a new generation of progressive musicians has come out of Chicago, whom I can mention only in passing, such as cellist Tomeka Reid, guitarist Jeff Parker, trombonist Steve Berry, and rapper Khari B; trumpeters Robert Griffin and Corey Wilkes; singers Dee Alexander and Taalib’Din Ziyad; drummers Chad Taylor, Mike Reed, and Vincent Davis; saxophonists Matana Roberts, Aaron Getsug, and David Boykin; bassists Darius Savage, Josh Abrams, Cecile Savage, and Harrison Bankhead; and many others.

10 Clustered around this center of the “Black Belt” were its major commercial, financial, service, and religious institutions, such as the Hotel Grand, and Provident Hospital, founded by black physician Daniel Hale Williams, the first doctor to successfully perform open-heart surgery. Right at 47th and South Park was the Regal Theater, a major symbol of black entertainment in pre-1960s Chicago, where virtually anyone who was anyone in black popular music performed. Hard by the Regal were many other important centers for live music, such as the Savoy Ballroom, the Club De Lisa, the Sutherland Lounge, and literally hundreds of smaller, more intimate nightspots.

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