By George E. Lewis
Founded in 1965 and nonetheless lively this day, the organization for the development of artistic Musicians (AACM) is an American establishment with a global recognition. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as in 1971, establishes the total significance and energy 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 number of infrequent images.
Moving from Chicago to ny to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall’s kitchen desk to Carnegie corridor, A energy more advantageous Than Itself uncovers a colourful, multicultural universe and brings to gentle an important piece of the historical past of avant-garde track and art.
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Extra resources for A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music
Lawrence Avenue, where one of Donavon’s uncles was also living. Leroy Jenkins’s great-uncle Buck had come to Chicago under very different conditions from the fabled train ride of Louis Armstrong from New Orleans that has become the stuff of nostalgia. Like many migrants, Buck Jenkins lacked train fare, so one day in the 1920s he simply hopped a freight train from the little town of Prospect, Tennessee. After securing employment and housing, Uncle Buck earned enough money to send for Leroy’s father Henry, who found steady work at the Spot, a tavern at 43rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue on Chicago’s South Side.
Abrams remembers his father as “well-educated, very smart, but . . there’s this phenomenon that happened because of racism to keep black people out of certain kinds of situations—so I guess he elected to say, well, I’ll just make my own stuff,”16 an assertion of self-determination that Abrams explicitly connects with the goals of the AACM. Abrams’s mother, born in Memphis, worked at home as a housewife. Her militancy about excellence and independence through education made a strong impression on all of her children.
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. By the 1960s, autodidact practices of the kind Abrams, trumpeter Philip Cohran, and many others were following were important not only to learning music, but also to emerging explorations of alternative lifestyles, diet, and histories.
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis