Anthony Braxton Quintet (London) 2004: Live at the Royal Festival Hall (2005)
Nonetheless, for those who attended the concert or listened to it on the BBC (this is the BBC's own recording), this release is a faithful record of the music. Those who have never heard it before have a treat in store. Composition 343 is as spiky and atonal a piece as any by Braxton. Yet he leads from the front, injecting life and energy into its realization. In his hands, it makes sense. He is in impressive form as a player; his solo passages are varied and never fail to enthrall; his finest moment comes some sixteen and a half minutes in with a prolonged, rapidly articulated solo that shoots adrenalin into the ensemble. All the other members deserve credit; in particular, the trumpet is a worthy partner to the leader's sax. Taylor Ho Bynum achieves the same sort of balance between articulation and unpredictability as Braxton himself. A special mention also for guitarist Mary Halvorson, who is a constant source of fresh ideas and interest.
Braxton has been on a roll recently; on this evidence it looks set to continue.
Track Listing: Composition 343, part 1; part 2.
Personnel: Chris Dahlgren: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion; Taylor Ho Bynum: trumpet; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Anthony Braxton: reeds.
Record Label: Leo Records
Style: Fringes of Jazz