AACM | Great Black Music, 6/4-13

Presented in Philadelphia by Ars Nova Workshop from June 4-13, AACM | Great Black Music is a festival of performances and public discussions with scholars and writers celebrating the past and present work of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).

Founded in Chicago in 1965, the AACM's motto is “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future,” and, as their mission proclaims, they've been “nurturing, performing, and recording serious, original music” ever since. The self-help collective, which converged through multiple ensemble configurations including the Art Ensemble of Chicago, was formed to provide avant-garde composers and performers a platform to elevate their work within a power structure hostile to black experimental musicians.

Forty-six years after its founding, the organization continues to collectively bargain with venues and record labels, initiate music education programs in inner city schools, and carve out a unique creative identity and space of their own. Named after the AACM's motto, the festival begins June 4 with a solo performance by trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and a public discussion led by John Szwed, and over the next two weeks there will be concerts by Henry Threadgill's Zooid, a Composer Portrait: Roscoe Mitchell component with the S.E.M. Ensemble performing chamber works by Mitchell, Mitchell and Evan Parker in duo, and Mitchell and the Sound Ensemble, the Collide Saxophone Quartet performing Threadgill's “Background,” and a duo with Mike Reed and Jeff Parker. Many of these events will feature pre-concert public discussions with music scholars, writers, and educators Francis Davis, Nate Chinen, and David Adler.

A summary of the events appears below. For additional information on the artists and events, and to purchase tickets, please see the individual event pages on the ANW website.

AACM | Great Black Music | June 4 – June 13 | Philadelphia, PA, USA
Saturday, June 4 at Philadelphia Art Alliance (251 S. 18th Street)
6pm | A public discussion with Wadada Leo Smith and music scholar John Szwed
8pm | A solo performance by Wadada Leo Smith

Sunday, June 5 at Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 N. American Street)
6pm | A public discussion with Henry Threadgill and music writer Francis Davis
8pm | A performance by Henry Threadgill's Zooid
[NOTE: We apologize for the inconvenience, but the pre-concert discussion with Francis Davis and Henry Threadgill is cancelled. The performance by Henry Threadgill & Zooid will still begin at 8pm.]

Saturday, June 11 at German Society of Pennsylvania (611 Spring Garden Street)
Composer Portrait: Roscoe Mitchell Chamber works by Roscoe Mitchell performed by the S.E.M. Ensemble, Thomas Buckner, and Joseph Kubera
Roscoe Mitchell-Evan Parker Duo

Sunday, June 12 at Settlement Music School (416 Queen Street)
Composer Portrait: Roscoe Mitchell
6pm | A public discussion with Roscoe Mitchell and music writer Nate Chinen
8pm | A performance by Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound Ensemble

Monday, June 13 at The Maas Building (1325 Randolph Street)
8pm | A performance by the Mike Reed-Jeff Parker Duo
9pm | A public discussion with music writer David Adler
10pm | The Collide Quartet perform Henry Threadgill's “Background”