When the roots of avant-garde jazz are traced, the signs usually point to its legendary hotbeds—New York and Chicago—as the sanctuaries where icons like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman and the founders of the AACM made their indelible marks. But Boston as a haven to complete the trifecta? That has yet to be etched into the annals of free jazz. Yet the tide is turning.
Underground and staunchly DIY, the radical creative music movement that emerged from Boston throughout the 1970s featured a classification-defying community of artists who have been criminally overlooked. Enter the long overdue reissue of a pair of private-press touchstones that helped document that clandestine scene. Originally released in 1974 and recently anthologized by Now-Again Records, Peace in the World, by Michael Cosmic, and Creator Spaces, by the Phill Musra Group, serve as fascinating complements to the work of avant-jazz seekers like late-period John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler and Sun Ra.