263

Anthony Braxton: Composition No. 94 for Three Instrumentalists

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
This trio outing is one of Mr. Braxton's ambitious early projects, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Leo Feigin for bringing it to light. Braxton, trombonist Ray Anderson and guitarist James Emery present Composition No. 94 for Three Instrumentalists, the score of which features graphic notation. These symbols, according to the liner notes by Braxton's Boswell, Graham Lock, "allow a player to improvise on a sequence of shapes rather than, say, a sequence of chords, the chief difference being that the shapes offer the player a greater degree of interpretative flexibility." What's more, the trio here plays the composition forwards, and then they play it again backwards! The symbols, of course, allow in this event enough flexibility to ensure that this is not a mere gimmick or an occasion for tired repetition.

So what does it sound like? Braxton himself is in top form, soloing with extreme passion and favoring multiphonic areas more than he ordinarily tends to do. There are also areas in which he plays with great delicacy. Emery contributes electronic effects as well as guitar work. His guitars are rather Derek Baileyan, in that they both eschew easy rhythms and tonalities, although there are clear stylistic differences between the two. He occasionally complements Braxton's lines and occasionally contributes electronic sound effects that work to contrast with or blunt the force of Braxton's attack. Anderson, meanwhile, has some marvelous moments with Emery, when his skittering and squawking is underlined by rollercoaster lines from the guitarist. When all three men play together, it is a glorious free-for-all with surprising twists and nuances.

This is one of Braxton's more formidable works, in contrast to the relative accessibility of his quartet music and standards discs. However, like much of his music for larger ensembles - including the recent Ghost Trance ensembles - it is full of subtle splendors and rewards repeated listenings, if only for the easy magnificence of Braxton's soloing. Recommended.

Personnel:

Anthony Braxton, sopranino sax, ss, as, ts, contrabass cl; Ray Anderson, alto tbn, tenor tbn, cnt, slide tpt; James Emery, ac g, el g, electronics.

Track listing: Composition No. 94 (forward reading) / Composition No. 94 (backward reading).

| Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "North" CD/LP/Track Review North
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Etchings in Amber" CD/LP/Track Review Etchings in Amber
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 1, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!