The premise of Afro Straight (Delmark), the sturdy new album from Chicago saxophonist Ernest Dawkins, is that his decades-long involvement with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians has pushed him away from wading deep within the standard post-bop repertoire, focusing instead on original music and an exploration of disparate styles. “When I first came around the AACM [in the early 70s], that’s what we were told to do: I saw guys like [Henry] Threadgill doing other gigs, playing shows, playing in church, as well as playing what we call ‘AACM music,'” he says in Neil Tesser’s liner notes.