Different Methods of Dissemination: Fielder, Jarman and the AACM

Although the recent deaths of multi-instrumentalist Joseph Jarman and drummer Alvin Fielder have led to new appreciation for their celebrated musicianship, NPR Music’s Howard Mandel, points out that each man’s contributions went past mere playing. Both nascent members of Chicago`s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 1960s, both demonstrated their exploratory playing skills with, in Jarman’s case, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell bassist  Malachi Favors and others who later made up the Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC); and in Fielder’s case with the likes of saxophonist Mitchell, Fred Anderson and many others. But it was Jarman’s interest in theatrical trappings – he always performed in face paint and a hat and recited poetry –  that encouraged new listeners to appreciate the AEC’s style and those of subsequent AACM performers. Meanwhile, relocated to Mississippi, Fielder helped organize activities to bring experimental music to the region, with opportunities expanding even further when Dallas trumpeter Dennis Gonsález joined and followed a similar course in his area. Initiatives like these helped organize groups and a network of sympathetic venues that provided opportunities for later generations of AACM members, from now-established bandleaders like drummer Kahil El`Zabar and saxophonist Ernest Dawkins to relatively young ones like trumpeter Corey Wilkes and cellist Tomeka Reid.