Composer and multi-reedman Anthony Braxton's complex and personalized compositional paradigms emanated in the 1960s, underscored by 12 language types, diagrams, and other methodologies to complement the improvisation aspect. On this double-disc, 2009 reissue of a 1978 concert, Braxton employs a diverse dream team including reedmen Marty Ehrlich
and Ned Rothenberg
and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler
. Consequently, Braxton lays down his woodwinds and focuses on the conduction element throughout a mesmeric cycle of events.
The program parallels Braxton's 1970s Creative Orchestra work for Arista Records, re-released by Mosaic Records as an eight-CD boxed set in 2008. Ultimately, the artist's creative persuasions instill a seat-of-the-pants type of entertainment factor. The orchestra sheds new light on the oft-used, "cutting- edge" descriptor. And, given the time frame, the music holds its weight 30 years after its initial release.
Braxton's compositions contain odd-metered developments as he amalgamates the grand schema with avant expressionism amid unorthodox treatments by synth ace Bob Ostertag and angular electric guitar parts by James Emery
. On "Language Improvisations," interweaving horns, touched with a semi-classical tone, give way to a symphony of abstracts, hued by percussionist Thurman Barker
's vibes work and Wheeler's blaring solo. The multi-part framework elicits asymmetrical doses of emotive aspects, including loneliness and tumult, emphasized by Ostertag's streaming synth maneuvers.
Braxton's overall muse consists of densely populated mini-motifs, offset by intricately executed bop choruses, wily soloing spots, and pungent accents by the horn section. He also injects a festive aura into various movements, yet does so in non-traditional formats. It's all about synchronicity and balanced approaches, to complement the occasional free-form breakouts. Braxton's piece "Comp. 59" is embedded with start-stop passages, booming punctuations, and Ehrlich's whirlwind sopranino solo. Here, the artists fuse a contemporary classical vibe with misty dreamlike intervals and gobs of impressionism. Essentially, (Köln) 1978 looms as a monumental work, highlighting Braxton's striking ingenuity, acute vision, and nouveau concepts by transforming jazz music into an illimitable vista.
Personnel: Anthony Braxton: composer, conductor; Dwight Andrews: flute, clarinet, bass clarinet,
soprano and tenor saxophones; Marty Ehrlich: flute, clarinet, sopranino, alto and baritone
saxophones; Vinny Golia: piccolo, bass clarinet, tenor and baritone saxophones; J.D.
Parran: flute, clarinet, nagaswaram, tenor saxophone; Ned Rothenberg: flute, ocarina, bass
clarinet, alto saxophone; Rob Howard: trumpet; Michael Mossman: trumpet; Leo Smith:
trumpet; Kenny Wheeler: flugelhorn, trumpet; George Lewis: trombone; James King Roosa:
trombone; Ray Anderson: trombone, tuba; Marilyn Crispell: piano; Birgin Taubhorn:
accordion; Bobby Naughton: vibraphone; James Emery: electric guitar; John Lindberg: bass;
Brian Smith: bass; Thurman Barker: percussion, marimba; Bob Ostertag: Serge synthesizer.