229

Anthony Braxton: Trio & Quintet (Town Hall) 1972

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Anthony Braxton: Trio & Quintet (Town Hall) 1972 Time has an ability to obscure certain details of the past. This notion is apparent when considering the multi-decade oeuvre of visionary composer Anthony Braxton, whose restructuralist Tri-Axium Theory is as unique as Ornette Coleman's Harmolodic Theory or Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures. Braxton's use of pulse structures and multiple logics has long encouraged a considerable amount of expressive autonomy from performers, yet the composer's idiosyncratic aesthetic has commonly been attributed to an iconoclastic sensibility that inadvertently undervalues his seminal membership in the AACM—an organization whose collective ideology places great importance on group collaboration. Embracing this communal methodology more than most of his albums, the live concert recording Trio & Quintet (Town Hall) 1972 documents some of Braxton's most intriguing and embryonic experiments, conceived well before his elaborate concepts blossomed into the daunting complexities for which he is renowned.

Totaling in the hundreds, Braxton's numbered/graphical compositions have encompassed a wealth of technical innovations over the years; this set reveals the expansive dynamics of his Number 6 series—realized in a range of approaches, from austere introspection to brash expressionism. The first half of the concert presents Braxton's oblique alto excursions supported by bassist Dave Holland and drummer Philip Wilson. Holland's earlier work with Braxton, pianist Chick Corea and drummer Barry Altschul in the avant-garde super-group Circle (1970-1971) lends his rapport with the leader an intuitive, freewheeling air. Holland's virtuosic pizzicato and Wilson's lithe, in-the-pocket accents provide Braxton's blistering chromatic flights a supple undercurrent through a range of extreme sonic dynamics, while framing the lyrical interpolations of an abstract reading of "All The Things You Are" with recognizably melodic footnotes.

The quintet pieces illuminate a far more esoteric aspect of Braxton's singular aesthetic. The expanded ensemble features Altschul replacing Wilson in the drum chair and multi-instrumentalist John Stubblefield serving as Braxton's foil, with vocalist Jeanne Lee stepping out front. Neo-classical in approach, the second half of the date waxes and wanes from aleatoric pointillism to roiling bouts of frenetic collective improvisation, with Lee's highly expressive vocalese uniting a kaleidoscopic array of instrumental textures, from Braxton's bellowing contrabass clarinet ululations to Altschul's effervescent marimba cascades. In addition to matching the leader's angular cadences note for note, Lee imbues Braxton's quixotic lyrics on the concluding "Composition 6 P II" with poetic finesse, bringing a stately sensibility to an early period of Braxton's work that is sorely under-documented, making Trio & Quintet (Town Hall) 1972 a truly remarkable reissue.


Track Listing: Composition 6 N/Composition 6 (O); All The Things You Are; Composition 6 P I; Composition 6 P II.

Personnel: Anthony Braxton: alto and soprano saxophones, flute, contrabass clarinet, soprano and Bb clarinet, percussion; John Stubblefield: tenor saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, gong and percussion (3, 4); Jeanne Lee: voice (3, 4); Dave Holland: double bass; Philip Wilson: drums (1, 2); Barry Altschul: percussion and marimba (3, 4).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Utazata" CD/LP/Track Review Utazata
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Havana Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Havana Blue
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Duopoly" CD/LP/Track Review Duopoly
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Live InTokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live InTokyo
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!