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

By George E. Lewis | Go to book overview

introduction
AN AACM BOOK:
ORIGINS, ANTECEDENTS, OBJECTIVES, METHODS

Around the fall of 1996, I had been promoted to full professor in the department of music at the University of California, San Diego. I was sitting in the office of my colleague, F. Richard Moore, who probably doesn't realize his role in the creation of this book. Dick had just finished his landmark book, Elements of Computer Music,1 and was busy extending cmusic, his set of software tools for musical experimentation. Dick saw cmusic as an example of a research project blending creativity and science, and pointed out to me that this was the very sort of project that might not receive support outside of the academic environment, even if the underlying ideas were arguably fundamental to the field of music technology. That was an argument I understood, because as an itinerant artist, I had tried to write on planes and trains, in the manner that one imagined Duke Ellington doing during the writing of his memoir, Music Is My Mistress. Now, I began to wonder about the kinds of projects I could initiate that would best utilize the strengths of the academic infrastructure in ways that complemented or exceeded my already established career as an itinerant artist. I began to think seriously about writing a biography of Muhal Richard Abrams.

As it happened, that year, 1996, Wadada Leo Smith had invited Muhal for a residency and concert in his program in African American improvisational music at the California Institute of the Arts. Muhal

-xxiii-

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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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