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paul secor

Your Favorite AACM Recordings (no limit now)

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The AACM has been getting some well deserved publicity lately with the release of Jack DeJohnette's Made in Chicago, so I thought it might be good to look over recordings by AACM members.

Please limit your choices to three - I know that's difficult, but I hope that enough people will post so that a wide variety of records are mentioned.

My three (and it was very difficult to narrow it to three):

AEC: People in Sorrow (Nessa)

Air: Air Time (Nessa)

Muhal Richard Abrams/Malachi Favors: Sightsong (Black Saint)

I'm sure others will list most of my other 50 or 100 favorites.

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Pretty painful pruning and excising but.....:

Muhal Richard Abrams, Levels and Degrees of Light

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Great Black Music/Reese and the Smooth Ones

Roscoe Mitchell, Sound

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Aeoc "people in sorrow"

George Lewis "homage to Charlie Parker"

Those two immediately come to mind; harder to pick a third..will have to think some more

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Keep 'em coming! I've heard some of these, but I'm writing the rest down. :)

Boo: SightSong is not on the MRA CamJazz box. :(

Edited by Guy

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even for single artists these favorite lists for me are always too dificult/impossible. with an organisation like the aacm it multiplies. so i am just listing the four(sorry) that are presently on my stack of records i want to listen to next. it does not do justice to the history or the multitude of individuals i admire

abrams/lewis/mitchell - streaming

anderson- black horn long gone

Mitchell- turn

Dawkins- afro straight

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favors_mala_naturalth_101b.jpg

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Conglipitous

For Alto

Homage to Charles Parker

Without thinking too hard...

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Ha! This is impossible. I feel like you can't take a fraction of the Art Ensemble back catalog (especially the early stuff) without taking all of it--it's so tightly packed chronologically, and there's such seamless conceptual continuity between all of those records. I feel this way about all of the "great AACM bands"--Air with Steve McCall, Braxton with Crispell/Dresser/Hemingway, and so on.

I can't rightly stick with three, but these are most of my favorites. Some of these probably don't even rightly "count" as proper AACM albums (in terms of personnel), but whatever.

Muhal Richard Abrams: Young At Heart/Wise in Time

AEC: Congliptious

AEC: Phase One

AEC: Les Stances a Sophie

AEC: People in Sorrow

AEC: Nice Guys

Air: Air Time

Lester Bowie/Brass Fantasy: Twilight Dreams

Anthony Braxton: New York, Fall 1974

Anthony Braxton: Dortmund (Quartet) 1976

Anthony Braxton/Max Roach: Birth and Rebirth

Anthony Braxton: Six Compositions: Quartet (Antilles)

Roscoe Mitchell: Sound

Roscoe Mitchell: Nonaah

Roscoe Mitchell: Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin' Shoes

Revolutionary Ensemble (this is really stretching it): Vietnam

Wadada Leo Smith: Songs of Humanity

Henry Threadgill: Where's Your Cup?

(w/special mention to Marion Brown's Afternoon of a Georgia Faun, since there are so many AACM guys involved)

If I absolutely had to choose 3 (based on play volume), I would go with Phase One, Les Stances a Sophie, and People in Sorrow. There's enough music between those three to keep anyone occupied for a stretch.

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I daresay the Braxton Antilles is a major stretch! But it's very, very good and too often overlooked.

I am going to keep an eye out for the Kahil and the Favors records.

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I just got that Kahil album in the mail (it's been reissued on CD on what looks like a "below board" label, but it could just be a budget/DIY-type situation on the part of whomever owns the rights). It's really great, with some ripping Lester and Malachi.

That Braxton Antilles is indeed a major stretch, especially considering there's only one actual AACM member onboard (though I guess this could be said of most of Braxton's music?). The wild card is Ed Blackwell, who digs into this music with a pocket so deep--but organically integrated--that it's simultaneously a testament to the flexibility of Braxton's music and an essay on how to make absolutely anything groove.

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I thought Braxton left the AACM in '75.

This is an impossible task but I'll be interested to read what others have to say.


People In Sorrow was the first I heard and it did leave an indelible mark.

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Just a tangential note to give props to the Trio Records album Kalaparusha, which features the eponymous saxophonist, Karl Berger, Ingrid Berger, Tom Schmidt, and mostly Jack DeJohnette on drums (w/Jumma Santons on one track).

I think that Humility in the Light of the Creator is Kalaparusha's "moment," but Kalaparusha is just so good and unjustly obscure--it touches on many of the same beats as Humility but adds a degree of open-endedness that serves the music very well.

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AEC: Les Stances a Sophie

Braxton: Dortmund (Quartet) 1976

Roscoe Mitchell: Old/Quartet

And the bonus recording is simply my favorite Fred Anderson record with only Fred from the AACM:

Blue Winter

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Sound

Congliptious

Nonaah

Coming up on the far turn -- L-R-G and Numbers 1&2

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I'll have to spend a few days playing my AACM albums in order to pick favorites. But "Humility in the Light of the Creator" would surely be one of the three. Note that Kalaparusha's title should have two articles. A sloppy Delmark designer left the second "the" off the cover of the original LP release, and since then, the CD reissue and all Delmark publicity have mistitled both the album and the song. Joseph Jarman got the title right on one of his albums.

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I thought about this for a couple of days, and kept coming back to the same three, which have all been mentioned already:

Art Ensemble of Chicago - People In Sorrow (Nessa)

Anthony Braxton - For Alto (Delmark)

Roscoe Mitchell - Nonaah (Nessa).

The first two were very important to me as a young man exploring the possibilities of jazz/improvised music. I didn't discover Nonaah until much later, but the solo version of the title cut is one of the most intense, shocking, amazing pieces of music I've ever heard. The rest of it is pretty good, too.

This may seem odd, but the Braxton album I listed would not be the same as "the one Braxton album I would take to a desert island", if I had to choose that. This is a subjective thing, I guess, but most of Braxton's albums don't seem like "AACM records" to me. Among the ones that do are For Alto, 3 Compositions of New Jazz, and For Trio.

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Amina Claudine Myers, Augmented Variations

Henry Threadgill, Rag, Bush and All

Roscoe Mitchell, Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancing Shoes

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So much to choose from...heck, I'll just go back to the beginning:

Muhal Richard Abrams, Levels and Degrees of Light

Lester Bowie, Numbers 1 & 2 (or, even better, the All The Numbers reissue, or, even better, The Art Ensemble 1967/68)

Joseph Jarman, Song For

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Amina Claudine Myers, Augmented Variations

Henry Threadgill, Rag, Bush and All

Roscoe Mitchell, Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancing Shoes

Did Augmented Variations get a CD release do you know? I can only find dl

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Amina Claudine Myers, Augmented Variations

Henry Threadgill, Rag, Bush and All

Roscoe Mitchell, Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancing Shoes

Did Augmented Variations get a CD release do you know? I can only find dl

Yes, I have it on CD.

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Amina Claudine Myers, Augmented Variations

Henry Threadgill, Rag, Bush and All

Roscoe Mitchell, Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancing Shoes

Did Augmented Variations get a CD release do you know? I can only find dl

Yes, I have it on CD.

thanks. I'll search harder

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Some great solo Roscoe Mitchell has been mentioned. Just want to put in a plug for a couple more solo recordings:

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Solo [3] (Mutable Music)

and

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Sound Songs (Delmark)

Great music on both.

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