Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is a non-profit organization, founded in Chicago, Illinois, United States, by pianist/composer Muhal Richard Abrams, pianist Jodie Christian, drummer Steve McCall, and composer Phil Cohran. Early members included Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, Jack DeJohnette, Chico Freeman, Wadada Leo Smith, Leroy Jenkins, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago: Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Famoudou Don Moye, and Malachi Favors. The AACM is devoted "to nurturing, performing, and recording serious, original music," according to its charter. It supports and encourages jazz performers, composers and educators. Its motto is, "Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future."
The AACM was formed in May 1965 by a group of musicians centered around pianist Muhal Richard Abrams who had organized an Experimental Band since 1962. The musicians were generally steadfast in their commitment to their music, despite a lack of performance venues and sometimes indifferent audiences. From 1969 the AACM organised a music education program for inner-city youths. In the 1960s and 1970s AACM members were among the most important and innovative in all of jazz, though the AACM's contemporary influence has waned some in recent years. Many AACM members have recorded widely: in the early days on the Delmark Records Avant Garde Jazz series and later on the Black Saint/Soul Note and India Navigation labels, and to a lesser extent on the Arista Records and ECM labels.
The musical endeavors of members of the AACM often include an adventurous mixing of avant-garde jazz, classical, and world music. The AACM also ran a school, The AACM School of Music, with classes in all areas taught by members of the AACM. The AACM also had a strong relationship with an influential sister organization, the Black Artists' Group (BAG) of St. Louis, Missouri. The AACM has received aid from the MacArthur Foundation and has a strong relationship with Columbia College. A Power Stronger Than Itself: The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians by George Lewis, has been published by the University of Chicago Press (May 2008).