Ptarmigan is now closed.

Ptarmigan operated in Tallinn from 2011-2014. We no longer maintain any presence in Tallinn, but this website will continue to serve as an archive of the activities produced at Ptarmigan during these years.


AACM seminar week 2: The new sound of Chicago
seminar : listening group
10 June, 2013 00:00 19:00

** Seminar will be available for remote participation via Skype! Please register here and include your Skype username to be invited to the call! **

This is a seminar/class that will meet several times this summer to explore the evolution of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The meetings will begin in the mid-late 1960’s and follow the development of the AACM, mainly looking at the Art Ensemble of Chicago as central figures, up through the late 1970s.

Each week we will listen together to AACM recordings, discuss our thoughts and ideas, and share food and drink. The principal text will be George E. Lewis’s book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, but we will supplement each meeting with additional readings that span theory, criticism and other themes related to their work. We will explicitly examine the organisational elements of the AACM, as an association that supports artistic research against the grain of commercial pressure, seeking strategies that may be applicable to our creative ventures today. Additionally, we’ll look for parallel developments in non-AACM art and music from these times.


  1. Before the Art Ensemble (3 June)
  2. The new sound of Chicago (10 June)
  3. A brain for the Seine (17 June)
  4. The 1970s in America (24 June)
  5. The dawn of the 1980s (1 July)

This week we'll look at some more early AACM recordings, specifically the debut of a young composer named Anhony Braxton. While the Art Ensemble of Chicago was not yet named, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors were performing under various group names. Like a “super group” of Chicago-based musicians, these four were united in their distinct approach to creating “black music”. At once jazz and not-jazz, this music created a new form of sound expression that did not abandon the roots of jazz, Negro spirituals, and African tribal music yet was distinctly avant-garde and open in form.

This week we'll listen to:

  • Anthony Braxton – 3 Compositions of New Jazz (1968)
  • Maurice McIntyre – Humility in the Light of Creator (1969)
  • Art Ensemble – selections from the 67/68 box set