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Joseph Jarman (1937 - 2019) was a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of trailblazing avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jarman was responsible for the Art Ensemble’s signature face paint and elaborate costumes as well as the pioneering theatrical and multimedia elements of their shamanistic performances, which could include d Joseph Jarman (1937 - 2019) was a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of trailblazing avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jarman was responsible for the Art Ensemble’s signature face paint and elaborate costumes as well as the pioneering theatrical and multimedia elements of their shamanistic performances, which could include dance, comedy, performance art, surreal pranks, and—notably—the recitation of Jarman’s poetry. In 1977, Art Ensemble of Chicago Publishing Co. published Jarman’s Black Case Volume I and II: Return From Exile, a collection of writing conceived across America and Europe between 1960 and 1975. Comprised largely of Jarman’s flowing, fiery free verse—influenced by Amus Mor, Henry Dumas, Thulani Davis, and Amiri Baraka—the book also features a manifesto for “GREAT BLACK MUSIC,” notated songs, concert program notes, Jarman’s photos, and impressions of a play by Muhal Richard Abrams, the founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians of which Jarman was also an original member. Jarman writes poetry of personal revolutionary intent, aimed at routing his audience’s consciousness towards growth and communication. He speaks with compassionate urgency of the struggles of growing up on Chicago’s South Side, of racist police brutality and profound urban alienation, and of the responsibility he feels as a creative artist to nurture beauty and community through the heliocentric music that he considers the healing force of the universe. A practicing Buddhist and proponent of Aikido since a 1958 awakening saved him from the traumatic mental isolation of his time dropped by the US army into southeast Asia, Jarman sings praise for the self-awareness realization possible through the martial arts. With cosmic breath as its leitmotif, his poetry both encourages and embodies a complete relinquishing of ego. While some of the poems contained within Black Case have already been immortalized via performances on classic records by Jarman and Art Ensemble of Chicago, its republication in print form breathes new life into a forgotten document of the Black Arts Movement.


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Joseph Jarman (1937 - 2019) was a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of trailblazing avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jarman was responsible for the Art Ensemble’s signature face paint and elaborate costumes as well as the pioneering theatrical and multimedia elements of their shamanistic performances, which could include d Joseph Jarman (1937 - 2019) was a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist best known as a founding member of trailblazing avant-garde jazz group Art Ensemble of Chicago. Jarman was responsible for the Art Ensemble’s signature face paint and elaborate costumes as well as the pioneering theatrical and multimedia elements of their shamanistic performances, which could include dance, comedy, performance art, surreal pranks, and—notably—the recitation of Jarman’s poetry. In 1977, Art Ensemble of Chicago Publishing Co. published Jarman’s Black Case Volume I and II: Return From Exile, a collection of writing conceived across America and Europe between 1960 and 1975. Comprised largely of Jarman’s flowing, fiery free verse—influenced by Amus Mor, Henry Dumas, Thulani Davis, and Amiri Baraka—the book also features a manifesto for “GREAT BLACK MUSIC,” notated songs, concert program notes, Jarman’s photos, and impressions of a play by Muhal Richard Abrams, the founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians of which Jarman was also an original member. Jarman writes poetry of personal revolutionary intent, aimed at routing his audience’s consciousness towards growth and communication. He speaks with compassionate urgency of the struggles of growing up on Chicago’s South Side, of racist police brutality and profound urban alienation, and of the responsibility he feels as a creative artist to nurture beauty and community through the heliocentric music that he considers the healing force of the universe. A practicing Buddhist and proponent of Aikido since a 1958 awakening saved him from the traumatic mental isolation of his time dropped by the US army into southeast Asia, Jarman sings praise for the self-awareness realization possible through the martial arts. With cosmic breath as its leitmotif, his poetry both encourages and embodies a complete relinquishing of ego. While some of the poems contained within Black Case have already been immortalized via performances on classic records by Jarman and Art Ensemble of Chicago, its republication in print form breathes new life into a forgotten document of the Black Arts Movement.

34 review for Black Case Volume I and II: Return From Exile

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg Bem

    Etched in time, this tribute to black music and black voice throughout the Black Arts Movement aims to and succeeds in stirring the emotions of liberation. The collection runs widely and wildly through form and theme, landing across an open field with an open heart of the poet, the musician, the human. So glad to see this work by Jarman reprinted.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olcay Gürkan

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rod Stasick

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jai

  5. 5 out of 5

    Garrett

  6. 5 out of 5

    Simon Henderson

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Grundy

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ruari Paterson-Achenbach

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paulina Samborska

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  12. 5 out of 5

    Will Jaramillo

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim A.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pete

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Levchenko

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kolbe

  20. 5 out of 5

    Orlanda James

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jorgen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jason Voss

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  25. 4 out of 5

    792681357431324

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  27. 5 out of 5

    cikil

  28. 5 out of 5

    Q

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josef Franta

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gianfranco Lanzio

  31. 5 out of 5

    Rami Tannous

  32. 5 out of 5

    Lena Rubitschung

  33. 5 out of 5

    Cy

  34. 5 out of 5

    Tom

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