Nicole Mitchell
  • Kristi Sutton Elais
  • Nicole Mitchell

The Chicago-born AACM (Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A lot of festivities are in the pipeline: a series of concerts at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where an exhibition called The Freedom Principle, opening on July 11, will carry a strong AACM focus; a key component of this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival; a monthly concert series at Constellation; the ongoing exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American History (“Free at First: the Audacious Journey of the Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians,” which runs through September 6); and other events to come.

This weekend there’s a barrage of AACM-related events happening around town. Tonight veteran AACM keyboardist Adegoke Steve Colson and his wife and singer Iqua will lead a quintet with trumpeter Rasul Siddik, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins, and drummer Dushun Mosley at University of Chicago’s International House. On Sunday afternoon the MCA hosts a Creative Music Summit with flutist Nicole Mitchell and violinist Renee Baker, who will discuss their work—film scholar Jackie Stewart will also be in discussion with filmmaker Ulysses Jenkins about his work, which will be screened along with a restored print of Oscar Micheaux’s classic 1924 film Body and Soul. The grand finale happens Sunday night at Mandel Hall, with the 50th Anniversary Reunion concert, with 50 members culled from the organization’s history performing together. The lineup lacks many of the heavy hitters who will be back in September, when the Experimental Band (Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Amina Claudine Myers, Wadada Leo Smith, and George Lewis among them) plays the Jazz Fest, but there’s still some real firepower: Nicole Mitchell, the Colsons, Kidd Jordan, Joseph Jarman, Douglas Ewart, Thurman Barker, Rita Warford, and Mwata Bowden, among others.

Today’s playlist:

N:Q, November Quebec (Esquilo)
Matthias Ockert, Laminar Flow (Wergo)
Antony and the Johnsons, Cut the World (Secretly Canadian)
Joachim Badenhorst, John Butcher & Paul Lytton, Nachtigall (Klein)
Aaron Parks, Arborescence (ECM)