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The Jazz Composer's Orchestra

In 1964, Bill Dixon formed the Jazz Composer's Guild, a cooperative organization meant to further the interests of New York's avant-garde jazz musicians by promoting and producing performances apart from the jazz club and booking establishment. An outgrowth of the organization was the Jazz Composer's Guild Orchestra, which was formed under the leadership of composer/pianist Carla Bley and trumpeter Michael Mantler. After the Guild's dissolution in 1965, Bley and Mantler continued the band as the Jazz Composer's Orchestra. The ensemble included many of New York's finest free jazz players; its 1968 double album The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, featured Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, Larry Coryell, and Gato Barbieri. The Orchestra's performances included concerts at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Electric Circus, the Public Theater, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1966, Bley and Mantler formed the Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association (JCOA) as a support organization; The JCOA commissioned works from major free jazz figures, many of which were intended for the Orchestra. The Orchestra last performed in 1975.
© Chris Kelsey /TiVo
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