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

By George E. Lewis | Go to book overview

5
FIRST FRUITS

The First Year: Concerts, Critics, and Issues

The AACM means a new order; possibility of order in the middle of
the musical, catch-as-catch-can world.

—J. B. Figi, “Jazz”

On August 5, 1965, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was chartered by the State of Illinois as a nonprofit, taxexempt organization. The incorporators, or signatories to the charter, were Philip Cohran, Stephen McCall, Jodie Christian, Sandra Lashley, and Richard Abrams. The board of directors listed on this first official AACM document included Eugene Easton, Lester H. Lashley, Malachi Favors, Jodie Christian, and flutist Robert R. Green. The official address of the corporation was listed as 511 East 87th Place, the address of Lester and Sandra Lashley.1 Legally, the organization was obliged to state its purposes to be chartered. Rather than cobbling together a set of vague phrases in the interests of flexibility, the organization took this obligation with the utmost seriousness. Particularly for a “Number Nine” organization, the resulting set of nine purposes reflected serious engagement with social, cultural, and spiritual issues affecting black musicians and their community.

Historian Eric Porter points out that despite many bebop musicians' attempts to foster an image of respectability, the music was

-115-

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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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