The University of Chicago News Office
April 14, 2004 Press Contact: Cathy Sweitzer
Director of Communications, University of Chicago Presents
(773) 834-7965

Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Great Black Music: Ancient To The Future” returns to Mandel Hall

    Cover of the 1972 recording Live at Mandel Hall

More Photos:

Available at Art Ensemble of Chicago’s website


The University of Chicago Presents, along with the Department of Music and the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC), will co-sponsor The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Return to Mandel Hall” on Friday, April 30 at 8 p.m. In the 32 years since the group last played Mandel Hall, the AEC has gained international recognition as one of the most adventurous and creative forces in the world of jazz.

On the afternoon of the concert at 2:00 p.m., the Department of Music will host a jazz symposium entitled “Great Black Music: South-Side Aesthetics” at the Franke Institute in Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th St., Room S118. The symposium will feature keynote speaker George Lewis, MacArthur fellow and author of the forthcoming history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) from the University of Chicago Press; John Szwed of Yale, biographer of Sun Ra and Miles Davis; and saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman of the AEC. The symposium, which will conclude by 5:30 p.m., is free to the public. Tickets for the concert are $25 to the general public and $11 to students with ID. JIC members will receive a $5 discount. Call 773-702-8068 for information and tickets. This concert represents University of Chicago Presents’ first foray into jazz presenting and marks a beginning of more jazz events in the future.

Joseph Jarman: reeds, percussion
Roscoe Mitchell: reeds, percussion
Famoudou Don Moye: drum set, African drums

Special Guests:
Jaribu Shahid: bass, percussion
Corey Wilkes: trumpet
Baba Sissoko: n’goni, tama, percussion

The Art Ensemble of Chicago, while often considered part of the jazz avant-garde, defies categorization. Its work explores the full range of the Black musical aesthetic from ancient rituals to holy pulpits; from the African drum orchestra to chanted incantations; from the Latin tinge to the swing beat. The AEC’s inclusive and innovative style fuses free jazz with the whole jazz tradition, incorporating strong ethnic-African elements in the mix.

The roots of the group are planted in Chicago where a number of the musicians studied and played together in the 1960’s and 70’s. Mitchell, Jarman and recently deceased bassist Malachi Favors were members of Muhal Richard Abram’s Experimental Band formed in 1961 in Chicago. In 1965 they were among the founding members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, a musical collective dedicated to promoting the creation, performance, recording and teaching of great Black music in all its forms. In 1967 Mitchell, Jarman and Favors formed the Art Ensemble of Chicago with percussionist Philip Wilson. In 1969 they were joined by legendary trumpet player Lester Bowie who played with the AEC until his death in 1999. In 1970 percussionist Don Moye replaced Wilson.

Individually and collectively, the musicians of the Art Ensemble of Chicago are stars and innovators on the international jazz stage. Their performances are not only marked by exceptional musicianship, but also dramatic spectacle and pageantry thanks to their practice of appearing in African garb and face paint. Dedicated to the Spirit, the ancient deities and the energy of the ancestors, the Art Ensemble of Chicago delivers a musical and visual excursion into and through Black music -- past, present and future.


TICKETS: By phone with credit card at (773) 702-8068. In person with cash, check or credit card, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Office of Professional Concerts, 5720 S. Woodlawn. At Mandel Hall after 6 p.m. on concert night

PRICE: $25 general public
$11 students with valid ID
$5 discount Jazz Institute of Chicago members

DATE/TIME: Friday, April 30 at 8 p.m.

PLACE: Mandel Hall, 1131 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

PARKING: Street or lot at 55th and Ellis, free after 4 p.m.

HANDICAP: Persons with disabilities or who otherwise need assistance may call the Concert Office at (702) 773-8068 prior to the concert, but no later than 3 p.m. on concert day.

ONLINE: At or by email to
Last modified at 03:48 PM CST on Thursday, April 15, 2004.

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