Anthony Braxton: Quartet (GTM) 2006 (2008)
The quartet here consists of young musicians associated with Braxton at Wesleyan. Max Heath is an adept and adaptable pianist whose name hasn't turned up in other Braxton projects, however, he's consistently imaginative, often finding fresh ways to negotiate the challenges of Braxton's music. Bassist Carl Testa and percussionist Aaron Siegel are familiar figures from other recent Braxton performances and each engages the space afforded them by the more open spaces of the quartet.
As the material stretches out, dilating time, resemblances develop to Braxton's pre-GTM quartets and the combinations of jazz-derived, composed and improvised elements. Sudden and surprising textures spring from the group at every turn, whether it's the very beautiful hand-damped piano strings and bowed bass harmonics of "340," the elusive sopranino saxophone with wiry cymbal noise and delicate upper register piano that suddenly merge together in "No. 341," or the fluttering soprano lines with scraped cymbals on "No. 346." That level of orchestral richness is only one of the pleasures of these adventures in Braxton's later Ghost Trance methodology.
Track Listing: Composition No. 338; Composition No. 340; Composition No. 341; Composition No. 346.
Personnel: Anthony Braxton: reeds; Max Heath: piano; Carl Testa: bass; Aaron Siegel: percussion.
Record Label: Important Music
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde