The Sixth Decade: From Paris to Paris


"The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, expanding to a chamber orchestra, marks its sixth decade as a vital force on the world music stage with an ear-opening live recording on two LPs. Recorded in France in 2020 at the Son D'Hiver Festival, this recording celebrates the legendary group's historic ties to Paris, where it was formed in 1968. When trumpet great Lester Bowie died in 1999, followers of the Art Ensemble of Chicago couldn't help but wonder whether the legendary quintet, which owed so much to his special and outlandish gifts, would -- or should -- go on. That it did, in his memory, with no loss of spirit. But the subsequent passing of two other founding members Malachi Favors Maghostut in 2004 and Joseph Jarman in 2019, made it even more difficult to envision a future for the band. Leave it to the AEC's proud surviving members, saxophonist/composer Roscoe Mitchell and drummer/percussionist Famoudou Don Moye to keep its flame glowing. In typical bold fashion, they not only extended the life of this beloved band, they redefined it in glorious and unexpected ways. With the addition of brilliant young players including poet and spoken word artist Moor Mother, cellist Tomeka Reid and violinist Jean Cook, and esteemed elders including trumpeter Hugh Ragin, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and bassist Jaribu Shahid, AEC became a full-fledged chamber orchestra. 'Come rejoice in a higher place!' urges the magnetic Moor Mother. In both honoring the band's illustrious history and soaring to new creative heights as a 17-member aggregation, Mitchell and Moye and company do just that. Would AEC have become the creative force it is had it not gotten the opportunity to find itself in Paris all those years ago? Will AEC return to celebrate their seventh? 'We can't control the clock, everything takes place in its own time,' says Mitchell. Don't be surprised if the time continues to be right for the AEC for years to come."