A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American by George E. Lewis

By George E. Lewis

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Founded in 1965 and nonetheless lively this present day, the organization for the development of artistic Musicians (AACM) is an American establishment with a world popularity. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as in 1971, establishes the complete significance and power of the AACM with this communal historical past, written with a symphonic sweep that pulls on a cross-generational refrain of voices and a wealthy choice of infrequent images.

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

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Perhaps one or more of those people will create a sequel, after one fashion or another. For now, one of the aims of this book is to help those younger artists in dealing with the richness of the legacy that they carry, as well as in understanding what has been achieved, what was shown to be possible, and what remains to be realized. The stakes are quite high in this endeavor, as I realized when a friend alerted me to a letter in the British magazine Wire from the African American experimental musician Morgan Craft, living in Italy at this writing.

Figi to point out that a historiography of the period dominated by New York–centered portrayals of integrated subcultures cannot account for the development of an experimentalism that, like the AACM (and Sun Ra), emerged largely in the context of hypersegregation. At the very least, a second model of the emergence of new music is strongly suggested here. Chapter 3: The Development of the Experimental Band This chapter follows the progress of the young Richard Abrams, whose rapid development as a composer and improvisor at this time included encounters with the ideas of Joseph Schillinger on the one hand, and the tutelage of bandleaders King Fleming and Will Jackson on the other.

Following Griffin, I observe that the migrants’ twin assertions of mobility and agency set the stage for how these musicians looked at artistic practice later in their lives. Following the trajectory of these families into the urban world of Chicago, sociological data on the economic state of the black community dovetails with personal narrative as I try to give a sense of how these young musicians grew up during the Depression years—not only their musical backgrounds, but their interests in sports, art, and literature; their Chapter Summaries :: xxxvii educational and religious backgrounds, which varied widely; their lives at home, and their relationships with their parents—in particular, the black mothers who supported their early musical educations through social clubs and second jobs.

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