Chapter 6 centers on the Art Ensemble’s activities during the 1970s. Back home in America, the musicians worked to build a larger domestic audience, a task that became easier after they signed with Atlantic Records. They also formalized the cooperative practices that they first implemented in France, establishing Art Ensemble of Chicago Operations (AECO), a corporation held equally by the five members of the group. But the most significant change to their social model was a new ethic of personal autonomy. The musicians set up separate residences and launched independent side projects that could generate supplemental income when the Art Ensemble was on hiatus. This arrangement allowed them to reinvest even more of the band’s earnings, which increased throughout the 1970s as the Art Ensemble toured the United States, Europe, and Japan.
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