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Taylor Ho Bynum: Navigation (Possible Abstracts XII & XIII)

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If Duke Ellington and Anthony Braxton were able to mix their DNA and reproduce themselves, the cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum would certainly be their scion. The best example of this Ellington/Braxton spawn is the latest recordings by Bynum's Sextet: the simultaneous release of an LP with digital download of the live date Navigation (Possible Abstracts X & XI) and a studio session, Navigation (Possible Abstracts XII & XIII), augmented here by drummer Chad Taylor to form a 7-tet. TheNavigation recordings are the Sextet/7-tet's fourth and fifth recordings, and they follow Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12, 2011), the session that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

AYCH / Jim Hobbs / Mary Halvorson / Taylor Ho Bynum: As The Crow Flies

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Three prominent modern-era improvisers offer a lesson in stark contrasts on this session, containing semi-structured and composed works. The artists construct off-center balladry, angst, and playful, cartoon-like soundscapes, amid a few doomsday scenarios dispersed throughout the jaggedly moving parts. Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs' “Over Yonder" stands out, because it would have seemed highly unlikely that the trio would flirt with traditional, New Orleans jazz frameworks within the set's largely freely organized and vastly expressive agenda. Sparking remembrances of Louis Armstrong's resonating extended notes, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum aligns with Jim Hobbs for a bracing set of choruses, executed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

AYCH / Jim Hobbs / Mary Halvorson / Taylor Ho Bynum: As The Crow Flies

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Improvising confederates agree to collaborate to create music out of thin air, right? Well, yes. Except when they don't. AYCH features three of the finest improvisers working today: saxophonist Jim Hobbs; guitarist Mary Halvorson; and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. All three come with stellar pedigrees and experience in guitarist/bassist Joe Morris' ensembles, plus Halvorson and Bynum were schooled at the knee of Anthony Braxton. Their previous recording together was last year's Bynum Sextet session, Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12, 2011).Seven of the twelve tracks presented here are group improvisations, the remaining five are penned by Hobbs. With ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Apparent Distance

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Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum's craft and expansive ideological stance is firmly implanted within a modern day who's who list of cutting-edge stylists, where preconceived boundaries are slashed into fragments. With his long-running affiliation with famed multi-reedman and composer Anthony Braxton, the artist abides by a no-holds-barred belief, immersed in semi-structured musical persuasions. Bynum plays tricks with one's psyche throughout this commissioned four-part suite. On “Part III: Source," the sextet pulls out the proverbial stops, highlighting Bynum's fertile imagination tactics. The cornetist straddles the avant-garde via abstract undertones, odd-metered bop, scrappy improvisational segments and more, while guitarist Mary Halvorson's ...

GNOME NOTES

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Apparent Distance

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Taylor Ho Bynum SextetApparent DistanceFirehouse 122011 Taylor Ho Bynum cuts to a cornet's chase with his declaration of intent, in the liner notes to Apparent Distance, a 2010 New Jazz Works commission grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation:“My goal," he writes, “is not just to blur the lines between composition and improvisation (a long-time pursuit), but to try to upend the listeners' expectations in other ways: circular melodies without beginnings or ends, disguised unisons and non-repetitive vamps, transitions that are simultaneously jarring and organic. Most ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Apparent Distance

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It is nearly impossible to stand far enough away from Taylor Ho Bynum's four-part suite, Apparent Distance, to take the entire piece in. It is both a thoroughly composed and an improvisational undertaking that swings as a conventional jazz sextet but challenges like a multi-directional chamber ensemble. Like Bynum himself, the music is not easily pigeonholed.Drop your phonograph needle just about anywhere (never heard of this? ask your dad) onto the record and the focal point changes. From a slurry-blopping cornet solo to Tomas Fujiwara's mad drumming, the scene always adjusts. This outward disorder does though have a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum / John Hebert / Gerald Cleaver: Book Of Three

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While trumpet plus rhythm trios are not a dime a dozen, they are becoming increasingly common currency. Following after Stephen Haynes' Parrhesia (Engine, 2011) and Kirk Knuffke's Chew Your Food (No Business Records, 2010), arrives an entry by the adventurous threesome of cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist John Hébert and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Though the title references Lloyd Alexander's children's favorite, it also neatly fits the ethos of three clearly separate authors who nevertheless meld their ideas into nine unified chapters. Though the chops of all three are a given, they don't flaunt their prowess. Indeed the whole ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum & Tomas Fujiwara: Stepwise

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Taylor Ho Bynum is one of the most inventive and exciting trumpeters of his generation. Well known for his association with such seminal figures as Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor and Bill Dixon, he is also building a substantial body of work in his own right. Stepwise is his second duet with drummer and longtime ally Tomas Fujiwara, after True Events (482 Music, 2007), which made several best of year lists.

This time out there four compositions, two from the, that are placed together with six jointly improvised cuts in a 43-minute studio date. Both men resist the temptation to overplay ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum & Spidermonkey Strings: Madeleine Dreams

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Madeleine Dreams is about as odd as the novel upon which it is based. Taylor Ho Bynum and SpiderMonkey Strings weave deftly through the magical realism of Madeleine is Sleeping, a novel written by Bynum's sister Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura flows through the divide between dream and reality with grace. She narrates the first seven tracks, the lyrics of which are excerpts from the story, with a smoky alto that at turns belongs to a children's storyteller, slam poet or blues singer. The yawning quality of her voice and wide emotive range makes “Le Petomane," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum / Spider Monkey Strings: Madeleine Dreams

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That this is cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum's fourth leadership date so far this year speaks volumes about his growing stature as a bandleader, writer and virtuoso instrumentalist. Justly known as one of celebrated composer/saxophonist Anthony Braxton's foremost interpreters over the last decade, Bynum's star now shines even more brightly in the creative music firmament, thanks to these multiple projects, and parts in Jason Kao Hwang's Edge, the Convergence Quartet and the orchestras of Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor.

For the second outing of his improvising chamber ensemble Spider Monkey Strings, Bynum further tweaks the already oddball line-up by ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Taylor Ho Bynum & Mary Halvorson: Quartet Moscow (2008) & The Double Trio

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Anthony Braxton Quartet Moscow (2008) Leo 2008 Stephen Haynes & Taylor Ho Bynum The Double Trio Engine Studios 2008

Having both studied under Anthony Braxton at Wesleyan University and now playing in his ensembles, Taylor Ho Bynum and Mary Halvorson have established themselves in town working together in various other groupings. Halvorson plays in Bynum's sextet and they play together in the Thirteenth Assembly quartet. They are also two-thirds of Braxton's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths

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Since his studies and performances with new music and improvisational pioneer Anthony Braxton, hornist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum has assumed many musical hats amid his incredibly all-embracing vernacular. Whether it's avant chamber-jazz, large scale orchestra fare or variable ensemble groupings, his ascent towards the upper echelon of today's forward-thinking artists cannot be understated. Bynum's ability to seamlessly merge distinct genres or thought processes into a singular identity is often astonishing. Sure enough, Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths drives these aspects home in rather salient fashion.

Bynum covers so much ground on this album it could easily serve as fodder for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths

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Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has garnered a considerable amount of acclaim since his stunning debut as an ensemble leader on Other Stories (Three Suites) (482 Music, 2005). Widely considered composer Anthony Braxton's most promising former student, Bynum continues to work with his former mentor, acting as one of his key collaborators, while maintaining a distinct identity as a singular composer.

Although Bynum shares some of Braxton's esoteric qualities (the modular structure of the “whYeXpliCitieS" suite, for example), he embraces a more post-modern aesthetic, maintaining an appreciation for the specifics of style as he fuses disparate genres together like ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Taylor Ho Bynum: A Trickster Sensibility

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Is Taylor Ho Bynum the most extraordinary cornet player to emerge since Louis Armstrong? It's beginning to look that way. With a vast sonic vocabulary, blessed with soaring lyricism, fearlessly forward looking yet with a hotline to gut bucket primitivism, Bynum, still in his early 30s, is already a singular and thrilling artist.

Two late 2007/early 2008 sessions--Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths, featuring Bynum's own sextet, and High Definition, made as a member of bassist Joe Morris' quartet--grab the listener around both ears and haul him, a willing captive, into a maelstrom of creativity, risk-taking, rhythm, joy and laughter.



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