Book Review: La nuée – L’AACM: Un jeu de société musicale


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La nuée – L'AACM- Un jeu de société musicale

La nuée – L’AACM: Un jeu de société musicale
Alexandre Pierrepont
Editions Parenthèses, Collection Eupalinos – Jazz et musiques improvisées
Paris, 2015, 431 p. ISBN 978-2-86364-669-4

The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) is a collective of Chicago-based African-American musicians that marked the 50th anniversary of its founding last year. A unique phenomenon, given its durability, it has spawned several noteworthy names in the American jazz avant-garde. One of them is trombonist George Lewis, who published an in-depth historical study in 2008 (A Power Stronger than Itself, Chicago University Press). Last September, a second book, authored by Alexandre Pierrepont appeared in France. An academic, journalist and concert promoter all rolled into one, the author embraces an anthropological viewpoint, more specifically an ethnological one. His study rests on a concept elaborated in a previous work of his entitled Le champ jazzistique (the jazz field). This new monograph, prefaced with more than a hundred pages of theoretical discussions, is an extension of the earlier work, a kind of case study which examines historical, sociological, philosophical and musical considerations. As rigorous and exhaustive as the treatment is, it would have been nice to have some visuals (of which there are plenty in Lewis’s tome) to offset the density of the text. More puzzling is the absence of an index and a bibliography (though there are copious footnotes), both of which are part and parcel of any scholarly work. In spite of these shortcomings, a translation would still be a welcome addition to the literature on the subject. For a more extensive review go to

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About Author

Marc Chénard is a Montreal-based multilingual music journalist specialized in jazz and improvised music. In a career now spanning some 30 years, he has published a wide array of articles and essays, mainly in Canada, some in the United States and several in Europe (France, Belgium, Germany and Austria). He has travelled extensively to cover major festivals in cities as varied as Vancouver and Chicago, Paris and Berlin, Vienna and Copenhagen. He has been the jazz editor and a special features writer for La Scena Musicale since 2002; currently, he also contributes to Point of Departure, an American online journal devoted to creative musics. / / Marc Chénard est un journaliste multilingue de métier de Montréal spécialisé en jazz et en musiques improvisées. En plus de 30 ans de carrière, ses reportages, critiques et essais ont été publiés principalement au Canada, parfois aux États-Unis mais également dans plusieurs pays européens (France, Belgique, Allemagne, Autriche). De plus, il a été invité à couvrir plusieurs festivals étrangers de renom, tant en Amérique (Vancouver, Chicago) que Outre-Atlantique (Paris, Berlin, Vienne et Copenhangue). Depuis 2012, il agit comme rédacteur atitré de la section jazz de La Scena Musicale; en 2013, il entame une collabortion auprès de la publication américaine Point of Departure, celle-ci dédiée aux musiques créatives de notre temps.

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