All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

395

Anthony Braxton: 20 Standards

By

Sign in to view read count
By reputation, saxophonist Anthony Braxton may be most closely associated with the avant garde, but he is also firmly steeped in traditional jazz, and he has recorded a fair bit of it as well. 20 Standards (Quartet) 2003 is a four-CD set of live performances of standards in a quartet setting; Braxton is joined by guitarist Kevin O'Neil, percussionist Kevin Norton, and bassist Andy Eulau. Much of the repertoire featured here was integral to the cool jazz of the fifties, but the quartet tears into it like it was written yesterday.



Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby" and the Kaper/Washington song "Green Dolphin Street" are presented in both faithful and visionary renditions, divesting the material of much of the sentimentality that has accrued from decades spent as cocktail performance fare. The latter tune is particularly stunning, with swirling soprano saxophone runs from Braxton and a dazzling solo from O'Neil.



A twenty-minute workout on the Kern chestnut "All the Things You Are"—which Braxton also recorded in a seemingly unlikely pairing with Dave Brubeck back in the seventies (on the album All the Things We Are)—points out the saxophonist's command of the changes. Braxton negotiates various twists and turns, substitutions and extensions, through an exciting and thoroughly fresh-sounding solo. Two Brubeck tunes are also included on the recording, "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "The Duke," as well as the DBQ's most famous composition, the Paul Desmond-penned "Take Five." Both Eulau and Norton excel in the alternate time signatures and complex structures of this material, playing with scintillating energy.

Even the venerable ballad "Moonlight in Vermont" is given an articulate and taut performance. Braxton plays its melody with a combination of poise and affecting (though restrained) lyricism. If you want to hear your favorite old standards sounding brand new again, this set fits the bill.


Track Listing: Disc One: All the Things You Are; Lines for Lyons; April in Paris; Green Dolphin Street; Blues for Alice. Disc Two: Alone Together; Waltz for Debbie; For Heaven's Sake; Freedom Jazz Dance; The Song is For You. Disc Three: The Duke; I Love You; Lonnie's Lament; Blue Rondo a la Turk; Invitation. Disc Four: Tune Up; Remember; Moonlight in Vermont; Take Five; Serenity

Personnel: Anthony Braxton: saxophones; Kevin O'Neil: guitars; Andy Eulau: bass; Kevin Norton: percussion.

Title: 20 Standards | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Leo Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sextet (Parker) 1993

Sextet (Parker) 1993

New Braxton House
2018

buy
3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011

3 Compositions...

Firehouse 12 Records
2016

buy
Trio and Duet

Trio and Duet

Sackville
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Three Pictures CD/LP/Track Review
Three Pictures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet CD/LP/Track Review
Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet
by Gareth Thompson
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Triad CD/LP/Track Review
Triad
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Sketches of American Music CD/LP/Track Review
Sketches of American Music
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Reality
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Flux Reflux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 8, 2018
Read "Trajectory" CD/LP/Track Review Trajectory
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 13, 2017