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 a different instrumentation entirely (four actors, two soloists and ensemble, as documented on Composition 173 (Black Saint, 1996)), although you ...read more
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 double CD Tentet (Wesleyan) 1999, each disc showcases a single continuous piece.Aficionados will know that between 1995 and ...read more
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 numbers, the ensuing program consists of eight challenging Tristano originals and one Warne Marsh tune.A common complaint about ...read more
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. For me this is an opportunity to share my life experiences and hopefully they might, in some small way, help ...read more
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 extract the most subtle emotions. This he brings to bear on the abstract as well as the concrete music that ...read more
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 in the AACM--an organization whose collective ideology places great importance on group collaboration. Embracing this communal methodology more than most ...read more
Maybe the world wasn't ready for the music of Anthony Braxton back in 1972, when this concert was recorded, and maybe it wasn't ready for him, when it was released twenty years later in 1992. Then again, is it really ready for him today? Certainly, and this music is very accessible. This beautifully remastered edition of New York's Town Hall concert is another clue into the puzzle of Braxton's musical genius. Braxton circa 1972 was a 27-year old Chicagoan, an affiliate with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and a member of the legendary band ...read more
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