21-CD Set Celebrates Art Ensemble of Chicago’s 50th Anniversary

The limited-edition box is scheduled to be released Nov. 30

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ECM's 21-disc set The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles

The Art Ensemble of Chicago was founded in 1969, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the avant-garde jazz group, ECM Records—which also happens to have been established in 1969—is releasing a 21-CD limited-edition box set titled The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles.

The set will be available on Nov. 30, featuring a wide variety of recordings from such luminaries as Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Muhal Richard Abrams, William Parker, and more.

Along with the music, there will be a 300-page book, which includes original album covers, previously unpublished photographs, liner notes, archival documents, and poetry by Joseph Jarman, among other things.

A full list of the discs contained in the box—18 albums, three of them twofers—is below.

Art Ensemble of Chicago: Nice Guys (May 1978)
Art Ensemble of Chicago: Full Force (January 1980)
Art Ensemble of Chicago: Urban Bushmen (2 CD) (May 1980)
Art Ensemble of Chicago: The Third Decade (June 1984)
Leo Smith: Divine Love (September 1978)
Lester Bowie: The Great Pretender (June 1981)
Lester Bowie: All the Magic (2 CD) (June 1982)
Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy: I Only Have Eyes for You (February 1985)
Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy: Avant Pop (March 1986)
Art Ensemble of Chicago: Tribute to Lester (September 2001)
Roscoe Mitchell & the Note Factory: Nine To Get Ready (May 1997)
Transatlantic Art Ensemble/Mitchell: Composition/Improvisation 1, 2 and 3 (Sept 2004)
Transatlantic Art Ensemble/ParkerBoustrophedon (September 2004)
Roscoe Mitchell & the Note Factory: Far Side (March 2007)
Roscoe Mitchell: Bells for the South Side (2 CD) (September 2015)
Jack DeJohnette: New Directions(with Lester Bowie) (June 1978)
Jack DeJohnette/New Directions: In Europe (with Lester Bowie) (June 1979)
Jack DeJohnette: Made in Chicago (with Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill) (August 2013)

Read a 2003 JazzTimes interview with Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.