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A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American by George E. Lewis

By George E. Lewis

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Founded in 1965 and nonetheless energetic this day, the organization for the development of artistic Musicians (AACM) is an American establishment with a global attractiveness. George E. Lewis, who joined the collective as in 1971, establishes the entire significance and energy of the AACM with this communal historical past, written with a symphonic sweep that attracts on a cross-generational refrain of voices and a wealthy selection of infrequent images.

Moving from Chicago to big apple to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall’s kitchen desk to Carnegie corridor, A strength enhanced Than Itself uncovers a colourful, multicultural universe and brings to mild a huge piece of the historical past of avant-garde song and art.

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

Sample text

At times, both musicians and audiences found themselves precariously situated atop the horns of a class-inflected populist-versus-elitist dilemma, grappling along the way with knotty issues of control and appropriation of a “cultural property,” black music, that was simultaneously the most commodified and the most closely policed music in history. Chapter 7: Americans in Paris This chapter chronicles the encounter with the European music scene by the eight AACM members who first ventured across the Atlantic in 1969.

Figi to point out that a historiography of the period dominated by New York–centered portrayals of integrated subcultures cannot account for the development of an experimentalism that, like the AACM (and Sun Ra), emerged largely in the context of hypersegregation. 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.

Doing so would not only allow readers less invested in music but familiar with those discourses and debates to find commonalities with the histories surrounding new music, but could also provide musically oriented readers unfamiliar with those discourses with an opportunity to engage them on familiar ground. As I began to publish, I discovered a rapidly developing, questing new literature, a group of wonderful new colleagues, an exciting crop of graduate students, and an international reading public, including many musicians, who were eager for a new kind of writing about music that did not patronize the reader or assume his or her ignorance of the matters under review.

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