Rediscovering the Black Artists’ Group

Courtesy photoOliver LakeIn the mid- and late 1960s, the Black Arts Movement emerged as the aesthetic and spiritual corollary to the Black Power philosophy. In St. Louis, Black Artists’ Group (BAG), which flourished between 1968 and 1972, gave rise to a host of nationally recognized figures, including Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett of the World Saxophone Quartet. Today, this influential yet little-known collective is undergoing a resurgence of interest, with the reissue of rare BAG recordings on the Ikef, Quakebasket and Atavistic record labels; a new definitive history published by the Missouri Historical Society Press; and an upcoming sypmosium at Washington University in St. Louis.