Black Artists Group

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Black Artists Group
Also known asBAG
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri, United States
Years active1968 (1968)–1972 (1972)
Past membersJulius Hemphill

The Black Artists Group (BAG) was a multidisciplinary arts collective that existed in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1968 to 1972. BAG is known for the convergence of free jazz and experimental theater.[1][2]

Members included saxophonists Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, J. D. Parran, Hamiet Bluiett, and Luther Thomas; trumpeters Baikida Carroll and Floyd LeFlore; trombonist Joseph Bowie; drummers Bensid Thigpen and Charles "Bobo" Shaw; bassist Bobby Reed, ArziniaRichardson; stage directors Malinke Robert Elliott, Vincent Terrell, and Muthal Naidoo; actors LeRoi S. Shelton; poets Ajule (Bruce) Rutlin and Shirley LeFlore; dancers Georgia Collins and Luisah Teish; and painters Emilio Cruz and Oliver L. Jackson. While Jackson was not officially a member, he was deeply involved with BAG and is usually listed as a member. In addition, Ronnie Burrage was considered one of the youngest members (11 and 12 years old) of BAG as he began to perform with various members in 1971 and '72.[3]

BAG received major grant funding from the Danforth Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. In July 1969, the group paid $1 annual rent for a building at 2665 Washington Blvd.[1]

Many of the BAG members relocated to Paris and then New York in the 1970s.[1]


BAG inspired other groups and artistic collectives to form around the United States including Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.[4]

Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett formed the World Saxophone Quartet and were notable in the "loft-jazz" scene of New York's underground in the 1980s.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Otten, Liam (2 February 2006). "Rediscovering the Black Artists' Group". The Source. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  2. ^ Looker, Benjamin (29 November 2004). BAG: Point from which creation begins: the Black Artists' Group of St. Louis. Missouri: Missouri Historical Society Press. p. 344. ISBN 1-883982-51-0.
  3. ^ "Black Artists' Group (BAG) 1968-1972". St. Louis Public Radio. 16 February 2006. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  4. ^ Looker, Benjamin (19 December 2004). "Poets Of Action: The Saint Louis Black Artists' Group, 1968-1972 (Part 1-4)". All About Jazz. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

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