Free Jazz: A Second Breath

Ever since Ornette Coleman's double quartet, many experiment attempted to organize the newfound freedom of jazz or cause the power of collective improvisation -at the core of large groups- to explode.
While Alan Silva worked on density of resonant layers by superimposing individual sounds, Sun Ra linked up with tradition of exoticism and fantastic, associated with the big bands of the thirties.

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Sun Ra

Moreover, numerous musicians came together in associations to produce and distribute their own music, which was said to be hard to sell. One of these, the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), contributed to restarting the dynamism of free jazz just when the movement had begun to falter. Created in 1965 in Chicago by pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, the AACM pulled together a variety of figures who would be prominent in free jazz in seventies.

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Muhal Richard Abrams
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Lee Konitz (front), with Bud Powell, Miles Davis and Art Blakey
(photo: M.Fleiss)

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Paul Desmond

While the Art Ensemble of Chicago played on light and shade and on dramatic organization of time, Anthony Braxton, an AACM member, referred directly to Eric Dolphy but also to such white musicians as Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond and to 20th- century classical composers as well. Particularly popular in Europe during the sixties, Braxton revealed the talents of many musicians, such as the trombone virtuoso George Lewis and the pianist Anthony Davis.

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Anthony Braxton


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