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Roscoe Mitchell Sextet: Sound (1966)


“Sound” is the debut album by American composer and multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell.

Background of the Production

Roscoe Mitchell was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1940.

Mitchell is known as one of the members of the non-profit organization AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and avant-garde jazz ensemble AEC (Art Ensemble of Chicago).

In 1965, Mitchell became one of the first members of AACM, along with Jodie Christian (piano), Steve McCall (drums), and Phil Cohran (composer).

In 1966, Mitchell recorded his first studio album “Sound” with AACM members.


The album “Sound” was recorded at Sound Studios (Chicago) in 1966 and was released on LP by independent record label Delmark Records in the same year.

It was the first recording by AACM members, and it can be regarded as the starting point of AEC.

The album “Sound” is a seminal work in the history of avant-garde jazz. It expanded the possibility of collective improvisation by presenting sounds as textures and incorporating the concept of space.

It consists of collective improvisations by the sextet, three future AEC members, Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, and Malachi Favors, with Maurice McIntyre, Lester Lashley, and Alvin Fielder.

It is abstract free jazz in the contemporary classical music style, incorporating recorder, harmonica, whistle, toy instruments, and non-musical noises in addition to traditional jazz instruments. The contrast between sound and silence is impressive.

“Ornette” is a tribute to Ornette Coleman, one of the musicians who was most directly influential on the activities of the AACM.

The CD released by Delmark Records in 1996 includes two takes of “Sound” (which were edited together in the original LP) and another version (different arrangement) of “Ornette” too.

Delmark Records reissued the album on CD as the Vol. 1 of “Art Ensemble Of Chicago Series” in 2018. It is the first reissue from the original analog mix by engineer Stu Black.


  • Roscoe Mitchell – alto saxophone, clarinet, flute, recorder
  • Lester Bowie – trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonica
  • Malachi Favors – bass
  • Maurice McIntyre – tenor saxophone
  • Lester Lashley – trombone, cello
  • Alvin Fielder – percussion

Track Listing

All compositions by Roscoe Mitchell.

Original LP

Side One

  1. Ornette – 5:22
  2. The Little Suite – 10:20

Side Two

  1. Sound – 21:30

CD Reissue

  1. Ornette [alternative take] – 5:44
  2. Sound 1 – 26:36
  3. The Little Suite – 10:27
  4. Ornette – 5:29
  5. Sound 2 – 19:24