The musician, composer, aikidoka and Buddhist, who had played with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, died on January 9 in Englewood, New Jersey, at the age of 81.

Nothing would be more ungrateful than treating Joseph Jarman as a jazzman. Not only because the term does not exist in American; but most of all because Joseph Jarman, who died on January 9 in Englewood, New Jersey, is a major player in an African-American movement without leniency for the word “jazz”. Social, political, poetic, educational, philosophical, musical, theatrical movement, fomented in Chicago (Illinois) by pianist Muhal Richard Abrams (1930-2017): AACM (Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians). Twenty-five musicians sign the charter in 1965.

Joseph Jarman, born September 14, 1937 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was raised in Chicago in 1938. Battant, warrior, yes; Doctor of Martial Arts, that’s for sure; formidable actor of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the armed arm of the AACM; playing very collective and very solo too … But “jazzman” would not be appropriate. As much to treat it of “nigga”. It would be more direct.

Iconoclast Brilliant

Jarman is a pure product of the street, the school, the muddle and one of the most vivid psychoactive moments of African-American consciousness. Of the conscience entirely. At DuSable High School, Jarman studies all kinds of subjects, including drums. Professor? The illustrious Captain Walter Henri Dyett (1901-1969).

Would you like to get an idea of ​​the Captain’s method? Very simple: first, to inflict the infamous turnip of Damien Chazelle, Whiplash  ; deuzio, to invert all the clichés, all the fantasies, all the stupidities; third, learn about the great dignity of Captain Dyett. It is to the army (1955-1958) that Jarman will develop the practice of reeds – the oboe, but also the clarinet and saxophones, all parade instruments. From 1955 to 1958, he was one of the few African Americans to join Pathfinders (scouts) of the 11 th Airborne Division of the US Army.

On his return, he studied composition, counterpoint, philosophy and the history of art. He plays in rhythm and blues and blues bands. He is already very close to Roscoe Mitchell. Mitchell, brilliant iconoclast, had done his service in Heidelberg (Germany), marching in rhythm with Albert Ayler and Rubin Cooper. It had to swing severe, days of parade, in the capital of romanticism.

Mitchell urges Jarman to join Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band. For his part, Jarman plays his composition Imperfection in a Given Space with John Cage (1965). And begins to occur ”  absolute solo  “. Antony Braxton, one of the 27 signatories of the founding charter of the AACM, does the same. Together, they engrave Together Alone (1974).