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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton Quartet: (Santa Cruz) 1991 1st Set

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Decoding the music of Anthony Braxton might be a lifetime's mission. With his symbol system compositions and grand unification theories, even the trained ear admits to perplexity and a certain ignorance. Braxton has never stopped, nor slowed to explain himself to listeners. There are moments of insights though, in his performances. One can glean his approach when he covers jazz standards, plays the music of Charlie Parker or Lennie Tristano. Perhaps another window into the mind of the great one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton: Trio and Duet

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Vanguard composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton has long inspired debate among conservative critics as to whether or not his urbane contributions should be considered part of the jazz canon; oblique strategies notwithstanding, Braxton's abstruse efforts rarely swing in a conventional sense, forever fuelling the argument. Nonetheless, Arista Records signed Braxton to a six year contract late in 1974--an unprecedented move on the major label's behalf that brought widespread attention to the maverick conceptualist's heterogeneous artistry. Trio and Duet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton: Sax Quintet (New York) 1998

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Saxophone agglomerations are not without precedent in reedman/composer Anthony Braxton's copious playbook. Indeed, his “Composition 37" for four saxophones on New York, Fall 1974 (Arista, 1975) could be said to have launched the genre, bringing together as it did three of the founder members of the pioneering World Saxophone Quartet two years before their eventual formation. What is perhaps even more remarkable about Sax Quintet (New York) 1998 is that the single piece performed, “Composition 173," was originally scored for ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anthony Braxton: Tentet (Wesleyan) 1999

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Even though his output suggests that saxophonist/composer/educator Anthony Braxton has never wanted for outlets for his music, he hasn't always had the control he desired. All that changed with the launch in 2011 of the New Braxton House imprint, which issues a new digital download each month drawn from his voluminous archives. This initiative has allowed the gaps in his back catalogue to be filled, and edges ever closer to the goal of documenting all the master's works. On the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton: Eight (+1) Tristano Compositions 1989 For Warne Marsh

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Long valued as an elusive, out of print collector's item, the recently reissued Eight (+1) Tristano Compositions 1989 For Warne Marsh offers listeners another opportunity to reevaluate composer Anthony Braxton's vibrant reinterpretation of the groundbreaking pianist's work. Dedicated to the tenor saxophonist most commonly associated with pianist Lennie Tristano's oeuvre, this 1989 session originally included versions of “How Deep is the Ocean" and “Time on My Hands," two Great American Songbook standards related to the genial duo's purview. Omitting those ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Anthony and Me

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When I was asked to write a column for All About Jazz, my question was what should I write about? I was told anything that was music-oriented.I decided that being a professional musician for more than fifty years, I could write about the things I care about, know about, have strong opinions about based on my own experiences that might be worth sharing. In no way do I want the reading public to think this is about self-promotion. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton: Trio and Quintet (Town Hall) 1972

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If Anthony Braxton were to be judged on the basis of his oeuvre alone, he would stand completely apart from any modern composer, bar none. He has an enormous body of work, written for every conceivable permutation and combination of ensemble, from two to over a hundred and also for practically all the modern instruments known to musicians. As a reeds and winds player, he has a staggering technique, but not only this: he dives deep into the soul to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton: Trio & Quintet (Town Hall) 1972

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Time has an ability to obscure certain details of the past. This notion is apparent when considering the multi-decade oeuvre of visionary composer Anthony Braxton, whose restructuralist Tri-Axium Theory is as unique as Ornette Coleman's Harmolodic Theory or Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures. Braxton's use of pulse structures and multiple logics has long encouraged a considerable amount of expressive autonomy from performers, yet the composer's idiosyncratic aesthetic has commonly been attributed to an iconoclastic sensibility that inadvertently undervalues his seminal membership ...



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