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Musician

Anthony Braxton

Born:

To his list of achievements and awards, Anthony Braxton may now add the 1994 MacArthur Fellowship: the so-called "genius" grant of (in his case) $300,000, awarded to individuals nominated for outstanding and original contributions to their field. The timing of this crowning achievement couldn't be better for Braxton's most recent professional goals: he is the founding Artistic Director of the newly incorporated Tri-Centric Foundation, Inc., a New York-based not-for-profit corporation including an ensemble of some 38 musicians, four to eight vocalists, and computer-graphic video artists assembled to perform his compositions. The ensemble's debut at New York's The Kitchen sold out the last and most of the first two of three nights, through the press excitement it generated; the reviews—in Down Beat and the Chicago Tribune (John Corbett), the Village Voice (Kevin Whitehead), and the New York Times (Jon Pareles)—ranged from positive to ecstatic. Most importantly, the musical success of the event inspired Braxton to pursue the "three-day and -night" program concept for this ensemble, including lectures/informances, and splinter chamber performances, around the world. The second New York event, indeed, expanded on the concept: The Knitting Factory presented six nights of Anthony Braxton and his music, in all the variety of its vision

Article: Album Review

Lars Scherzberg: Top Floor Encounter

Read "Top Floor Encounter" reviewed by John Chacona


The first phase of jazz was characterized by melodic improvisation. In its second phase improvisers dealt with harmony and, in the current phase, density is the improviser's concern. So says Anthony Braxton—if I understand him correctly (if anyone does). If so, then Top Floor Encounter may be as characteristic of our time as Armstrong's “Weatherbird" was ...

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Article: Album Review

Wadada Leo Smith: String Quartets Nos. 1-12

Read "String Quartets Nos. 1-12" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Wadada Leo Smith's seven CD boxset String Quartets Nos. 1-12 summons two words, epic and ineffable. The 5½ hours of music chronicle three of his four periods writing for string quartets from 1965 until 2019. The remaining work, “String Quartets Nos. 13, 14, and 15" inspired by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the US ...

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Article: Album Review

Kobe Van Cauwenherghe’s Ghost Trance Septet: Plays Anthony Braxton

Read "Plays Anthony Braxton" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Why is it that we remember the past but not the future? That is a question which theoretical physicists are continually fascinated by. Think about it for a moment, we rely on our flawed individual observations to make judgements about the world. A few hundred years ago, Earth was definitely flat and, by further inspection, the ...

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Article: Interview

Phil Freeman Talks Jazz in the 21st Century

Read "Phil Freeman Talks Jazz in the 21st Century" reviewed by Tyran Grillo


If music journalism had an award for honesty, it would belong firmly on the shelf of Phil Freeman alongside his latest book, Ugly Beauty. And if I had a choice about the design of said award, I might opt for a gold-plated boxing glove to symbolize the gut punches his words deliver. Not because his approach ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

21 Standards on Tap

Read "21 Standards on Tap" reviewed by David Brown


What makes a song a standard? How does a tune enter the commonly shared repertoire that jazz musicians have been expected to know at any moment? Tonight, we spin a variety of well-worn standards for your listening pleasure. Sonny Rollins once said, “Jazz and standards are forever locked in loving embrace." Some commentary in this episode ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Gunter Baby Sommer, Tyshawn Sorey Trio, Kobe Van Cauwenberghe & Linda Sikhakhane

Read "Gunter Baby Sommer, Tyshawn Sorey Trio, Kobe Van Cauwenberghe & Linda Sikhakhane" reviewed by Maurice Hogue


This edition of OMJ is all over the place when it comes to new recordings—drummers Gunter Baby Sommer (with Lucaciu 3), Pierre Favre (with Samuel Blaser) and Tyshawn Sorey; saxophonists Linda Sikhakhane from South Africa and Germany's Charlotte Greve (with the Lisbeth Quartet), pianist Russ Lossing, Austria's AHL-6, and Belgian guitarist Kobe Van Cauwenberghe and his ...

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Article: Album Review

Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets

Read "The Emerald Duets" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The pioneering British photographer/author Val Wilmer said of Wadada Leo Smith, “he no longer relates to the restrictions of scales and chords. To him, music is about two things only: sound and rhythm." Her assessment, from the essential book As Serious As Your Life (Allison & Busby Ltd, 1977), was published in 1977. But in the ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Milestones: Miles Davis Pre 1960 And His Collaborators

Read "Milestones: Miles Davis Pre 1960 And His Collaborators" reviewed by David Brown


This week, a mix to mirror book one of the 1983 Miles Davis biography by Jack Chambers that I'm reading. Two full hours, celebrating the music of Miles and his collaborators pre-1960. Playlist Thelonious Monk “Esistrophy (Theme)" from Live at the It Club-Complete (Columbia) 01:30 Miles Davis Quintet “Milestones" from single (Columbia) 02:20 Lee ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

New Releases And Anthony Braxton Live

Read "New Releases And Anthony Braxton Live" reviewed by Bob Osborne


On this show the best of recent jazz releases from around the world and a classic live track from Anthony Braxton. Featuring brand new music from George Crotty Trio, Doug Webb, Daniel Carter and The Telepathic Band, Jon Balke Siwan, Queen Kong, Artur Tuznik Sextet, Pasquale Stafano Trio, Carole Nelson Trio, David Murray Brave New World ...


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