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The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians is Chicago's seminal free-jazz organization, a loose consortium of some of the world's most creative musical minds organized to promote and develop modern African-American music.

Has included such notables as Muhal Richard Abrams (its first president), Ajaruma, Martin "Sparx" Alexander, Fred Anderson, Steve Barry, Mwata Bowden, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton, Ari Brown, Jodie Christian, Phil Cohran, Wes Cochran, Ernest Dawkins, Thaddeus Expose, Chico Freeman, Robert Griffin, Vandy Harris, Fred Hopkins, "Light" Henry Huff, Isaiah Jackson, Joseph Jarman, Leroy Jenkins, Kalaparush, George Lewis, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Maia, Nikki Mitchell, Amina Claudine Myers, Steve McCall, Roscoe Mitchell, Dushun Mosley, Arneed Muhammad, Famadou Don Moye, Reggie Nicholson, Rasul Saddik, Shanta, Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, Ann Ward, Rita Warford, Edward L. Wilkerson, Jr., Taalib-Din Ziyad.

The Associations probably has its beginnings in Muhal Richard Abrams' 1961 Experimental Band, in which several of the city's foremost improvisers -- including Eddie Harris, Donald Garrett, Victor Sproles and Roscoe Mitchell -- were featured. When trumpeter Lester Bowie moved to Chicago in 1966, this grew into a co-operative to help Chicago musicians promote and present their own music, in a way not usually available through commercial channels.

Aside from festivals and concerts, the AACM has set up a school for young musicians, and provided a moral influence to their members.

Past members include Malachi Thompson.

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