Steve McCall, AACM co founder (September 30, 1933 – May 24, 1989)
McCall was born in Chicago and began his career there in the 1950s. One of his early
gigs was playing behind blues singer Lucky Carmichael. McCall befriended Muhal
Richard Abrams in 1961, and went on to be one of the founders of the AACM in 1965.
He played with hard bop and free jazz musicians throughout the decade; among those
he played with were Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell,
Fred Anderson, and Wadada Leo Smith. From 1967 to 1970 he lived in Amsterdam
and in Paris, playing there with Braxton, Marion Brown, and Gunter Hampel. In 1970
he moved back to Chicago, where he played in a trio with Dexter Gordon and Gene
Ammons, and the avant garde trio Air with reed player Henry Threadgill and bassist
He spent another year in Europe in 1974, then moved to New York City in 1975,
playing again with Threadgill and Hopkins in Air and with Muhal Richard Abrams in
trio and quintet with bassist Leonard Jones. He also played with Chico Freeman,
Arthur Blythe, John Hicks and David Murray. He played with David Murray at Galerie
Waalkens of Albert Waalkens in the Dutch village Finsterwolde. In 1985 he played
with Cecil Taylor, and worked with Roscoe Mitchell again until his death of a stroke in
1989. He never recorded a session as a leader (a solo recording for the French Futura
label was mentioned at one time, but it's unclear whether it actually existed).
However, McCall received equal billing with tenor sax player Fred Anderson on the
posthumously released Vintage Duets album.