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

By George E. Lewis | Go to book overview

10
THE NEW REGIME IN CHICAGO

Generational Shifts in the Collective

In the wake of the artistically successful AACM Tenth Anniversary Festival, a number of new Chicago-based members came to the fore. One of the most influential on subsequent AACM generations has been the clarinetist and saxophonist Mwata Bowden, who joined the AACM in 1975, just after the festival. Born in Memphis in 1947, Bowden was just slightly younger than some of the youngest first-wave AACM members, such as Henry Threadgill and Anthony Braxton. Bowden's family came to Chicago when he was ten, part of the last major wave of the Great Migration. The family settled with relatives at 46th and Vincennes, in a basement apartment right in the middle of Bronzeville, now increasingly referred to as “the ghetto.” The family lived a block away from the Regal Theater, where Bowden would go to see stage shows unaccompanied by his parents, and the 63rd Street club scene was still in force when Bowden was a teenager.1

At the age of twelve, Bowden began taking clarinet lessons at Ebenezer Baptist Church, right in the neighborhood on 45th and Vincennes, where the young Dinah Washington, then known as Ruth Jones, had accompanied the even younger Leroy Jenkins twenty years before. At Forrestville, the same elementary school that Ajaramu had attended in the 1930s, Bowden joined the instrumental music

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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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