Abrams and Mitchell at Mills

Longtime AACM members Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell have a show tomorrow at Mills College.

For nearly half a century, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell have been pushing boundaries as improvisers. For most of their lives they’ve been known as jazz guys. Abrams was the guiding light behind Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a font of revolutionary ideas, especially back in the ’60s and ’70s, when the jazz avant-garde invaded the mainstream. Mitchell was the guiding spirit behind the most famous band to emerge from the AACM, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which started as his group and had as its motto “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.”

Times change. Abrams and Mitchell are now often associated with a broader swathe of improvised contemporary music. When they play, “jazz” isn’t necessarily mentioned, even though these two continue to play with the same eccentric and intuitive abandon, matched somehow by a logical and brainy persistence, that always characterized their music.

Now, Mitchell holds the Darius Milhaud Chair in Composition at Mills College, where he joins Abrams on Friday for a night of duets in the school’s newly renovated Jeannik Mequet Littlefield Concert Hall. The concert is part of the Mills Music Festival 2009, a new music extravaganza running through April 5 and celebrating the hall’s opening. Abrams and Mitchell perform at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets: $20; $12 alumni, seniors and students.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

KFJC Reviews

Yet more from KFJC:

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – “Continuum, the” – [Delmark]

The following statement is not true, but what I heard when I first listen to this recording: The Art Ensemble of Chicago was on a world tour, stopped in deepest Africa. Somehow they lost a trombone & sax after the concert and the locals got hold of them – creating a new tradition – honk & squirt horns with roots talking drum and percussion.

Actually, the EHE has been around Chicago for a long time blending African music with jazz. In this current form the personnel has almost totally changed, but the spirit is still strong. There is a authentic, tropical, hot feel to this recording – very much in keeping with the tradition.

Mazurek, Robert & Chicago Und. – “Playground” – [Delmark]

Here is something a bit different in 90’s jazz – driving, inventive creation, semi-improv, with a lot of guts and fury, but no saxophones! Actually the feel of this group can shift dramatically from a low pulse to a brass explosion, but there is not any “Squonky” stuff here. Much better than dinner jazz – and a lot of fun with some goofy instruments and a mix of percussion.

Mazurek has recorded 3 albums in a more “bop” style, but here he is trying out a lot of new directions and flavors from all over the world.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Kitchen Celebrates the AACM

George Lewis (cropped version)Image via Wikipedia AACM happenings going down at the Kitchen:

The Kitchen presents A Power Stronger Than Itself: A Celebration of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians Curated by George E. Lewis and Christopher McIntyre

Two evenings of music, October 9 and 11, will include performances by Nicole Mitchell, Amina Claudine Myers, Muhal Richard Abrams, Matana Roberts, Craig Taborn, Chad Taylor and Wet Ink Panel discussion moderated by Christopher McIntyre and Book signing with George E. Lewis will take place prior to the October 11 concert New York, NY, September 9, 2008—In conjunction with the recent publication of George E. Lewis’s book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008), The Kitchen presents A Power Stronger Than Itself: A Celebration of the AACM, Thursday and Saturday, October 9 and 11.

The Kitchen and Lewis—a composer, musician, former Kitchen music curator and long-time AACM member—will host two evenings of performances paying tribute to the seminal music collective, which has reconfigured the trajectory of music-making in America through its devotion to furthering
artistic experimentation and its forward-thinking approach to composition, performance, improvisation and collectivity. The first concert, on Thursday, October 9, will feature Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers and the ensemble Wet Ink performing the works of AACM composers. The second, on Saturday, October 11, will feature Nicole Mitchell, Matana Roberts, Craig Taborn, Chad Taylor and Wet Ink. Both concerts will take place at 8:00 P.M. at The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street). Tickets are $10. Prior to the October 11 event, Christopher McIntyre will moderate a free, 5:00 P.M. panel discussion followed by a book signing with Lewis.

Founded in 1965 on the South Side of Chicago, the AACM has remained a singular force in supporting, performing, and recording serious, original music. A collective of exceptionally dynamic artists formed the organization to meet their emergent needs to expose and showcase original compositions, and to create an outlet for the development and performance of their music. Many of its members are now considered visionaries in the history of American music: the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and Lester Bowie, to name a few.

The concerts at The Kitchen will bring together a cross-generational variety of artists, performing works by AACM composers. Some of the performers are founding and early members of the collective, including the pianists Amina Claudine Myers and Muhal Richard Abrams (duo piano). Others, like the flutist and AACM Chicago Chapter Co-President Nicole Mitchell, and the New York-based saxophonist Matana Roberts, joined the AACM more recently. Still others are New York-based artists who are not affiliated but nonetheless make music in the spirit of the collective’s diversity, such as the piano/organ/synthesizer player Craig Taborn, the drummer Chad Taylor and the contemporary music ensemble Wet Ink.

The panel discussion moderated by Christopher McIntyre on the afternoon of October 11 will include Lewis, Myers, Roberts, and Mitchell as well as writers Brent Hayes Edwards, Ted Panken, and Howard Mandel. It will conclude with a book signing by Lewis. The events at The Kitchen bookend a Friday evening concert of the music of Oliver Lake and Reggie Nicholson on Friday, October 10, 8:00 P.M. at the Community Church of New York (40 East 35th Street).

The event is sponsored by the AACM New York Chapter, Inc. For more information, please visit

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]