Blank Forms Editions, 2019. Paperback, 142pp., 8.25 x 6.75 inches
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.
Black Case Volume I and II: Return From Exile is 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.