By George E. Lewis
Founded in 1965 and nonetheless lively this present 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 total significance and power of the AACM with this communal heritage, 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 manhattan to Paris, and from founding member Steve McCall’s kitchen desk to Carnegie corridor, A strength greater Than Itself uncovers a colourful, multicultural universe and brings to mild a tremendous piece of the historical past of avant-garde song and art.
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Extra info for A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music
These associates felt that using more accessible language would produce a friendly and nonthreatening introduction to the AACM and its work that would appeal to a wide audience. The jazz writer Stanley Dance was evidently a devotee of this approach, judging from his critique of two jazz studies anthologies published in the 1990s by film scholar Krin Gabbard, Representing Jazz and Jazz among the Discourses: There is original thought here, but the reader is immediately confronted by the language academics apparently use to communicate with one another.
Here, I examine the roots of Amiri Baraka’s mid-1960s analysis of the black middle class, both in his 1963 Blues People and his highly infl uential 1966 essay, “The Changing Same (R&B and New Black Music)” in sociologist E. Franklin Frazier’s scathing 1957 portrait of the black middle class, Black Bourgeoisie,7 an account that drew substantially upon “sociology of deviance” ideas that were highly infl uential during the 1950s. Music histories have been loath to come to terms with the interaction between cultural nationalism and anticorporate notions of self-determination, except where these have been articulated by Europeans or European Americans.
For example, a manifesto such as John Cage’s Silence, with its articulation of a pan-European intellectual history that became naturalized as constitutive of an overall American musical identity, is as starkly culturally nationalist as anything published during the heyday of the Black Arts Movement. The creation of the long-lived and still-controversial AACM-identified slogan, “Great Black Music,” arose during this period. S. society and abroad, were promulgating. 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.
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis