Taylor Ho Bynum: The Ambiguity Manifesto

Mark Corroto By

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Taylor Ho Bynum: The Ambiguity Manifesto
Cornetist, composer, organizer and curator Taylor Ho Bynum marshals his recording The Ambiguity Manifesto into the categories of before and after, as in AM/PM, BC/AD, and maybe more appropriately before AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and after AACM. With the entire breadth of recorded jazz history available, Bynum chose the concepts of the AACM as the tipping point(s) for this recording. This is a natural progression from his apprenticeship with Anthony Braxton and also his work with Wadada Leo Smith. He also credits trumpeter Bill Dixon as a creative influence.

The recording expands Bynum's sextet of Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Bill Lowe (bass trombone and tuba), Mary Halvorson (electric guitar), Ken Filiano (acoustic bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) into a 9-tette with the addition of Ingrid Laubrock (soprano and tenor saxophones), Tomeka Reid (cello), and Stomu Takeishi(electric bass guitar). The Ambiguity Manifesto is the completion of a recording trilogy by Bynum, beginning with Navigation (Possibility Abstract X & XI) (Firehouse 12, 2013) featuring his Sextet and continuing with Enter the PlusTet (Firehouse 12, 2016), his 15-piece ensemble.

The music, on one CD or two LPs (download also available), opens with "Neither When Nor Where" Bynum's 'before,' a song that would not be out of place on a jukebox from the swinging bluesy 1960s. Its tight funkiness acts as material for later tracks, such as "Enter (g) Neither," to deconstruct and reimagine the composition in the context of an AACM world. If Bynum took just one thing from his time with Braxton, it would be the authority to rethink ensemble structure and song form. Here he opts for modular compositions which fracture into smaller elements, allowing his 9-tette to also separate and reform into different units. With the stellar cast of improvisers Bynum employs, the deconstruction and reassembly is the spark that ignites the possibilities. Bynum's 'after,' or the second half of the recording, is where the individual and group improvising is at its strangest. If by saying 'strangest' we mean strongest.

Track Listing

Neither When nor Where; Enter Ally; Real/Unreal (for Ursula K. Le Guin); (G)host(aa/ab); Enter (g) Neither; Ally Enter; Unreal/Real (for old music).


Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet; Jim Hobbs: saxophone, alto; Bill Lowe: trombone, bass; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Ken Filiano: bass; Ingrid Laubrock: saxophone; Tomeka Reid: cello; Satoshi Takeishi: drums.

Album information

Title: The Ambiguity Manifesto | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Firehouse 12 Records

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