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Live Review: October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music

An historic avant-garde gathering in Philly, featuring the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Anthony Braxton and more

In 1964, trumpeter Bill Dixon organized the October Revolution in Jazz, a four-day festival at New York’s Cellar Café intended to showcase the leading edge of free jazz and improvised music. Headliners included Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and Paul Bley. Out of the public and private discussions at the festival ultimately grew the Jazz Composers Guild, a musician’s cooperative intended to bolster the negotiating power of avant-garde artists.

Over the course of four days in early October, Philadelphia played host to the October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music, which carried the aesthetic torch of its namesake festival while showcasing the ways in which the business of and attitudes toward the music have changed in the intervening decades.

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