All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Anthony Braxton Quartet: (Willisau) 1991 Studio

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Picture Miles Davis finishing a solo and stepping off the bandstand to smoke, while John Coltrane steps up to the microphone to play. I'll bet that never happened with the legendary Anthony Braxton Quartet (1985-1994). His quartet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway may be the best vehicle to appreciate Braxton's conceptions as they relate to the jazz tradition. That period was the turning point for Braxton. His hardscrabble existence ended as he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant in 1985, and he established a base as a professor of music at Wesleyan University. These changes have allowed him the freedom to expand his concepts and output without sacrificing a roof over his head.

Although we can't discount Braxton's more recent crop of cohorts that have included Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Taylor Ho Bynum, and  Ingrid Laubrock, this quartet may have been Braxton's finest assembly of improvisers, and each has gone on to become elder statesmen in jazz. Their exploits and beginnings were documented in a sort of travelogue book of interviews by Graham Lock, Forces In Motion: The Music And Thoughts Of Anthony Braxton (Da Capo, 1989).

Originally issued (now long out-of-print) as a four disc set, Willisau (Quartet) 1991 -Studio/Live (hatART, 1992), you guessed it, contained the quartet's studio, plus live June performances at Mohren in Willisau, Switzerland. This remastered edition separates sessions, and along with the two remastered (Santa Cruz) 1993 (Hatology, 2015) discs, reestablishes this quartet in a historical context. Recall that the 1991 Grammy Award for jazz winner was Oscar Peterson, which followed a string of conservative wins by the traditionalist Wynton Marsalis. Jazz as forward-thinking, creative music was struggling to find an audience. Okay, it has always struggled to find listeners, and Braxton's music is especially complex. These quartet sessions, like his Charlie Parker Project, are a great introduction to his concepts. Let's think of this band as the next progression of, say, John Coltrane's famous quartet. Braxton stretches jazz conventions (like Coltrane) with the full participation of his quartet. There is no hesitation by any member, and although there are solos, each becomes part of the whole, with all listening and contributing. If Braxton was (is) ahead of his time, journeying back to 1991 today might be about time.

Track Listing: CD 1: No.160 (+5) + 40J; No. 23M (+10 + 108D); No. 158 (+96) + 40L; No. 40A; No. 40B; CD 2: No. 161; No. 159; 23C + 32 + 105B (+30); 23M (+10 + 108D); No. 40M.

Personnel: Anthony Braxton: alto saxophone, clarinet, contrabass clarinet, flute, sopranino saxophone; Marilyn Crispell: piano; Mark Dresser: double bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums, marimba.

Title: (Willisau) 1991 Studio | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Sextet (Parker) 1993

Sextet (Parker) 1993

New Braxton House
2018

buy
3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011

3 Compositions...

Firehouse 12 Records
2016

buy
Trio and Duet

Trio and Duet

Sackville
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read UHHM CD/LP/Track Review
UHHM
by John Bricker
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Decoy CD/LP/Track Review
Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "The Future is Female" CD/LP/Track Review The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "A History Of Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "Whatever Possessed Me" CD/LP/Track Review Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Uncompahgre" CD/LP/Track Review Uncompahgre
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Heart Tonic" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Tonic
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2018