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

By George E. Lewis | Go to book overview

7
AMERICANS IN PARIS

Conceiving the World Audience

One important cultural nationalist trope involved analyses of who would “control” African American cultural production. Clovis E. Semmes, writing about Philip Cohran, notes that “the expropriation of African American culture by European American institutions of ideation is a well-established fact and cultural dilemma facing African American creative artists and intellectuals…. Cultural products, particularly music, language, dance, and stylistic norms are absorbed into the broader White-controlled commodity system, redefined, and used to advance the economic dominance of mainstream institutions.”1 Semmes identifies three stages that mediate that production:

First, the African American community spawns and shapes its
creative agents who in turn express and advance the cultural ethos
and aspirations of that community. The market for these creative
agents is first an internal one. Second, as others (outside of the
community) recognize and perceive social and economic benefits
from these cultural products, a new external market develops. The
artist begins to service this market but remains focused on his or
her root, internal, or home market. Third, as the external market
becomes dominant, the artist tends not to focus on the home mar

-215-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface - The AACM and American Experimentalism ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction - An AACM Book: Origins, Antecedents, Objectives, Methods xxiii
  • Chapter Summaries xxxv
  • 1: Foundations and Prehistory 1
  • 2: New Music, New York 29
  • 3: The Development of the Experimental Band 55
  • 4: Founding the Collective 85
  • 5: First Fruits 115
  • 6: The AACM Takes Off 163
  • 7: Americans in Paris 215
  • 8: The AACM's Next Wave 259
  • 9: The AACM in New York 325
  • 10: The New Regime in Chicago 389
  • 11: Into the Third Decade 440
  • 12: Transition and Reflections 481
  • Afterword 497
  • Appendix A - Interviews Conducted by the Author 515
  • Appendix B - Selected AACM Recordings 519
  • Notes 525
  • Bibliography 601
  • Index 637
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