No surprises, as the Chicago Jazz Festival honors 50 years of the AACM. Highlights of the fest include:
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
AACM at 50: THE EXPERIMENTAL BAND (MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS, HENRY THREADGILL, WALLACE MCMILLAN, WADADA LEO SMITH, AMINA CLAUDINE MYERS, GEORGE LEWIS, LEONARD JONES, THURMAN BARKER, REGGIE NICHOLSON)
SEPTEMBER 4, 2015
BILLY STRAYHORN CENTENARY CELEBRATION: CHICAGO JAZZ ORCHESTRA Performs New Arrangements of Strayhorn’s Classic Repertoire; Guest Arrangers Include JOHN HOLLENBECK, TOM GARLING, EDWARD WILKERSON, STEVEN BERNSTEIN & More To Be Announced
One of the most important contributions the city of Chicago made to 20th century American music was the formation of an organization called the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), founded on principles of creativity, collective organization, unyielding creativity and not beholden to any one style of music. The year 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the AACM. Thus throughout the year, a number of celebrations of this milestone will go on in Chicago and beyond. During the 37th Chicago Jazz Festival and the months leading up to it, the AACM will be particularly highlighted.
Presenting ILS, Gábor Lázár writes that the eleven pieces “have been composed on one note without transposition focusing on spectral changes and avoiding the traditional temporal measurements using additive synthesis. The interface works with tester algorithms based on simple mathematical operations which help in the compositional decision-making and trigger different temporal and spectral musical events run by a unique timeline”.
No, I don´t really understand, either. But what Lázár´s daunting parameters do to that one note is an act of aesthetic violence. It goes thwack thwack thwack. It smacks you around, maybe for your own good. Some unrelenting Sadean aesthetic-philosophical torture, self-centered and ferociously unambiguous. After imposing themselves on you, Budapest-based Lázár´s eleven short (but long enough!) pieces grow on you, and you hear the extremely attractive acoustics couched in that high concept. And although so utterly hardwired, actually sounds very woody. A new kind of kinetic sculpture. All one note. You´ve never heard anything quite like it.
In contrast, Yvan Etienne´s debut release Feu (Aposiopèse) is far more conventional noise. From Mulhouse in France, Etienne has played with the likes of Phill Niblock and Paul Panhuysen, edits the “oh cet echo” collection of the very-interesting looking Les presses du réel, and selects from a tool chest of electronics, phonography, analogue synthesizers and the hurdy-gurdy, as appropriate to his ongoing preoccupation with the physicality of sound.
The stippled waves of static on “Une Nuit” could be the wind, could be the heart of a blazing inferno, could be the beady snow blasting across a frozen lake. Sowing the whirlwind, he begins reaping a hard rain of tin cans and broken bits of copper wiring, until it begins grabbing at maverick radio waves in the air of “De La Change”. All this cakes into a high, violin-torturing tone and then pure tinnitus. A dramatic shift nearly halfway through this twenty-minute roaratorio brings us back to the windy plains and burning bushes. And slowly, the batteries run out. Riding on a grain of sand, we are swept far away from the maelstrom. “La Lueur” (the glow) is a swarm of locusts balled up and juggled. It picks up the same kind of unhealthy sounds the second track did but redemptively; here we finally hear the hurdy-gurdy, churning itself out of the mass. An extended, bagpipian drone exclamation point.