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Baker's Dozen

Music Of The Spheres: Rhys Chatham's Favourite Albums
Danny Riley , June 15th, 2016 10:37

The veteran avant-garde composer picks records by Morton Subotnick, Charlemagne Palestine and Maryanne Amacher and more to tell Danny Riley how his music, including new album Pythagorean Dream, has evolved

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AMM & MEV – Apogee
This was in another phase of my life. Around 1972 a wonderful composer called Frederic Rzewski came to New York, comes in from the David Tudor school of piano playing. Frederic was living in Italy, and he formed an improv group with other expat Americans that was very similar to an improv group in the UK that John Tilbury was involved in called AMM. They were composers from the classical tradition trying to break away from sheet music. AMM just played free. Back in the '60s this was just a complete liberation for classical musicians. Fred came to New York and founded MEV. At first it was musicians who were conservatory-trained but improvising freely, and none of us had done that before, it was very exciting. It got to a point where Fred realised that there was a tradition of American music that was improvised, the African-American art music – aka jazz. Fred started inviting jazz people to come play improv with us. Our mission was to try and break down hierarchies in music between things coming out of classical and jazz traditions. The work of AMM, Cornelius Cardew and MEV sparked my interest in jazz so much that aged 30 I started playing trumpet. Welcome to the school of sore lips.


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