Association For The Advancement Of Creative Musicians
Muhal Richard Abrams
I started a band, I call it the Experimental Band. And the reason I started the band is because in my self-studies of different approaches from different sources, technical studies, I needed a place to perform my composition; my new compositions, my original compositions. So, I formed, I organized what I characterize as the Experimental Band. And I attracted musicians who were of a like mind. They wanted to pursue their individualism in the same sense. And we were not playing standard type things in this particular orchestra. The idea was to — for myself to compose and perform the original music based on many things that I had learned from study.
I needed a forum other than the regular mainstream forum to produce this work that I wanted to produce. And like I said, other musicians were attracted to it, younger musicians. Some initially weren’t composing, but they developed the knack for applying themselves to composing in that way from being associated with this Experimental Band. Now, the Experimental Band, this was I guess ’63, ’62, 1962, 1963, somewhere like that, went on for a while, so three other musicians in the city; Phil Cohran, Jodie Christian, and Steve McCall, we were all associated all the time anyway, but we sat down one day, and we talked in terms of forming a larger, more formal organization to pursue the same ends of creating, and performing original music.
So, that was the beginning of the AACM, you see. We called a meeting of quite a few musicians in Chicago, and asked who would be interested in that idea of just — within the organization, of course, performing original music that emanated from the members in the organization. So, those who were amenable to the idea, stayed, and the others left. They didn’t leave, but you know, they wanted to pursue their regular way of doing things, and they weren’t opposed to what we were doing. But our idea was to have a forum to where we could just do original music, because we could always do mainstream music outside of the organization, and we were doing that. So, anyway, that basic idea is what started AACM. And from there, the people who were amenable to the idea, stayed with the idea, and the organization was formed.