299

Taylor Ho Bynum: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths

By

Sign in to view read count
Taylor Ho Bynum: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths Since he started teaching at Wesleyan University in the '90s, Anthony Braxton has found a large number of players who have embraced his compositional and improvisational ideas. Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has been among the most active in Braxton's galaxy. Bynum has also been directing a large array of his own ensembles; of those, his sextet is one of the most fruitful. Populated by other students of Braxton, this group released the superb Middle Picture (Firehouse 12, 2007).

Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths is a step beyond the sextet's first foray, being made up of all Bynum originals with an overarching concept to the eight pieces that gives the entirety a structural unity. The two end pieces are cornet solos. The second and penultimate piece are performed by the trio of Bynum, guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, a long-time Bynum collaborator. Also, the unique instrumentation (cornet, sax, viola, two guitars and drums) now sounds more flexible. Without a bass, the group's sound has a buoyant quality that gives the music clarity even in its densest passages.

The centerpiece of this disc consists of a lengthy three-part suite, "whYeXpliCitieS," dedicated to Braxton and performed by the entire sextet. It begins with very un-Braxtonian guitar power chords and feedback (courtesy of Evan O'Reilly), before settling into a slow movement with a haunting melody line played by violist Jessica Pavone. The second section revolves around a knotty theme that sounds as if it's based on Braxton's approach, both thematically and rhythmically. The final movement is founded on an almost folk-like theme given an unusual arrangement, with saxophonist Matt Bauder taking the lead while pizzicato viola and a flanged, percussive guitar (O'Reilly) decorate it. It gradually becomes misshapen and distorted, slowing down for a beautiful interlude by Bynum then picking up steam again, concluding with a driving section.

What's impressive is how un-Braxtonian the music sounds. Bynum is a creative player with his own ideas about composition and improvisation. And that may be the greatest lesson he learned from his mentor.

Track Listing: Open; Look Below; whYeXpliCitieS Parts 1-3; Goffstown; Close.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet; Matt Bauder: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Jessica Pavone: viola; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Evan O'Reilly: guitar; Tomas Fujiwara: drums.

Title: Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Hatology


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "The Good Life" CD/LP/Track Review The Good Life
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 9, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.