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Concert will celebrate a milestone for the forward-looking AACM

For 56 years, in fact. The AACM — not yet so named — first convened on May 8, 1965, at former Sun Ra Arkestra trumpeter Kelan Phil Cohran’s East 75th Street apartment. Before its inaugural meeting, Cohran, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jodie Christian, and Steve McCall circulated postcards with agenda items to be discussed that afternoon, the first order of business being to define “creative” and “original music.” The ensuing philosophical debate wasn’t so much about genre; even then, the AACM was largely past such superficial silos. Rather, attendees sketched out the group’s commitment to Black musical autonomy — whatever that music might be, and in whatever outgrowths, like the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s famed quintet or the flexible, often orchestral-scale Great Black Music Ensemble of the 21st century.

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