Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Gnome Notes
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Navigation
Navigation
Firehouse 12 Records
2014
buy
Navigation (Possible Abstracts XII & XIII)
Navigation (Possible...
Firehouse 12 Records
2013
buy
[no cover]
Continuum
Victor
2013
buy
[no cover]
Next
Victor
2011
buy
Book Of Three
Book Of Three
Rogue Art
2011
buy
Apparent Distance
Apparent Distance
Firehouse 12 Records
2011
buy

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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