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Tag: Anthony Braxton

Tuesday, April 22nd

like nobody else

Anthony Braxton ZIM Sextet (AB, 1945-, reeds, composition; Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet, flugelhorn, trombone; Ingrid Laubrock, reeds; Tomeka Reid, cello; Shelley Burgon, harp; Jacqueline Kerrod, harp; Dan Peck, tuba), live, Germany (Moers), 2017

 

Thursday, June 15th

like nobody else

Anthony Braxton Accelerator Ghost Trance Septet (AB, reeds, composition; Taylor Ho Bynum, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jessica Pavone, viola; Chris Dahlberg, bass, cello; Mary Halvorson, guitar; Jay Rozen, tuba; Aaron Siegel, drums, percussion, vibraphone), live, Spain (San Sebastian), 2008

 

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lagniappe

random sights

this morning, outside Chicago (Forest Park)

*****

random thoughts

Aging criminal-defense lawyer’s retirement plan: drop dead at my desk.

Wednesday, October 2nd

love it or hate it

Anthony Braxton 12+1tet, Composition 355, live, Italy (Venice), 2012


*****

Anthony, a MacArthur “genius” award winner (1994) and professor at Wesleyan University, talks about this and that:


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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Music can take us places we’ve never been before, if we’re willing to listen to sounds we’ve never heard before.

Sunday, 8/5/12

Who wouldn’t want to go to such a heaven?

Soul Stirrers (feat. Jimmy Outler), “Listen to the Angels Sing,” TV show, early 1960s

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lagniappe

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide in Black (In the Red)

• Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio (Blue Note)

• Shabazz Palaces, Black Up (Sub Pop)

Terrie Ex, Paal Nilssen-Love, Hurgu! (PNL Records)

• Anthony Braxton Quintet (Basel) 1977 (hatOLOGY)

• Miles Davis, Live in Europe 1967 (Sony Legacy)

• ICP Orchestra Performs Herbie Nichols & Thelonious Monk (ICP)

• George Lewis & The NOW Orchestra, The Shadowgraph Series: Compositions for Creative Orchestra (Spool)

• Misha Mengelberg, Steve Lacy, Goerge Lewis, Harjen Gorter, Han Bennink, Change of Season (Soul Note)

• Pharaoh Sanders, Karma (Impulse!)

• Charles “Bobo” Shaw & Lester Bowie, Bugle Boy Bop (Muse)

• Reverend Claude Jeter, Yesterday and Today (Shanachie)

 This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel On 45 RPM (1957-1982) (Tompkins Square)

• J. Berg’s A Cappella Archives (Vol. 3)Royal Rarities (Vol. 3) (Rare Gospel)

Congotronics 2: Buzz ’n’ Rumble in the Urb n’ Jungle (Crammed Discs)

• Pandit Pran Nath, Midnight: Raga Malkauns (Just Dreams)

• Nikhil Banerjee, Afternoon Ragas  (Bhimpalasri, Multani) (Raga Records)

• John Luther Adams, Songbird Songs (Mode Records)

• John Luther Adams, Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing (New World Records)

• John Cage Edition—Vol. 23: The Works for Violin 4 (Irvine Arditti, violin; Stephen Drury, piano) (Mode Records)

• Morton Feldman, Trio  (Aki Takahashi, piano; Marc Sabat, violin; Rohan de Saram, cello) (Mode Records)

• Tristan Murail, Gondwana, Desintegrations, Time and Again (Disques Montaigne)

• Peter Serkin Plays the Music of Toru Takemitsu (RCA/BMG)

• The Incomparable Rudolf Serkin (Beethoven, Piano Sonatas Nos. 30, 31, 32) (Deutsche Grammophon)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

• WFMU-FM

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Fool’s Paradise (Rex; “Vintage rockabilly, R & B, blues, vocal groups, garage, instrumentals, hillbilly, soul and surf”)
Downtown Soulville (Mr. Fine Wine, soul, etc.)

Tuesday, 6/26/12

the other night

exhilarating, adj. making you feel happy, excited, and full of energy. E.g., the music of Anthony Braxton.

Ken Vandermark, arrangments, bass clarinet; Nick Mazzarella, alto saxophone; Mars Williams, alto saxophone; Dave Rempis, baritone saxophone; Josh Berman, cornet; Jeb Bishop, trombone; Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone; Nate McBride, bass; Tim Daisy, drums; live, Chicago (Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee), 6/21/12

Composition No. 6 C (A. Braxton)

***

Composition No. 69 J (A. Braxton)

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lagniappe

Anthony Braxton sat perched on a piano bench one recent afternoon, hands folded in his lap, wearing an intent but unreadable expression. Angled away from the piano in a no-frills rehearsal space in Brooklyn, he faced the dozen or so vocalists that currently make up his Syntactical Ghost Trance Music Choir. The singers, arranged in a semicircle, were tackling Mr. Braxton’s “Composition No. 256,” staring hard at their sheet music while trying to keep track of their conductor. It was starting to seem as if the piece, a slippery, scalar proposition, were getting the best of them.

“O.K.,” said Taylor Ho Bynum, the conductor, waving the singers to a halt. Mr. Bynum, a cornetist, composer, bandleader and former student of Mr. Braxton’s at Wesleyan University, took a moment to describe the cues and signals that would further convolute the interpretation of the piece. “When in doubt, we follow Braxton,” he said.

“Which is to say, you know it’s going to be wrong!” Mr. Braxton fired back, laughing.

Mr. Bynum nodded, deadpan. “We’d follow Braxton off a cliff.”

***

Mr. Braxton, 66, has been a force in the American avant-garde since the 1960s, when he emerged in his native Chicago as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Within the first decade of his arrival, he was being toasted in some circles as “the new messiah, the new Charlie Parker-John Coltrane-Ornette Coleman,” as Whitney Balliett put it in The New Yorker.

As a composer, conceptualist and saxophonist, Mr. Braxton exemplified the steep intellectualization of one wing of jazz’s avant-garde; his compositions often included notation in the form of pictographs and algebraic formulas, and he wrote pieces not only for jazz ensembles but also for classical orchestras (in one memorable instance, for four of them at once). One piece from 1971, “Composition 19 (For 100 Tubas),” finally had its premiere five years ago as a rumbling overture to that year’s Bang on a Can Marathon in Lower Manhattan.

“I wanted to have an experience like my role models,” Mr. Braxton said after the rehearsal, at a nearby pub. “Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charlie Mingus, Iannis Xenakis, Sun Ra, Hildegard von Bingen. The people who were thinking large scale and small scale. I might not have been able to get the money to do what I would have liked to do. But you can still compose it and have the hope that maybe in the future it can be realized.”

Mr. Braxton has often suggested that his sprawling output — and the equally irreducible theoretical discourse surrounding it — should be understood as a single body of work. To that end, his music has become a bit more accessible recently, thanks to a spate of archival releases. But that hasn’t made things easier for Mr. Braxton.

“This is a somewhat frustrating time cycle for me, in the sense that I rarely work anymore,” he said. “My work has been marginalized as far as the jazz-business complex is concerned, or the contemporary-music complex.” Were it not for his tenured post at Wesleyan, where he has taught for more than 20 years, “maybe I would be driving a taxicab or something,” he said.

***

“I had never thought that I would be involved in narrative structures,” Mr. Braxton said [of his new opera Trillium J]. “As a young guy, I was more interested in abstract modeling. But as I got older, I began to see that there was no reason to limit myself to any intellectual or conceptual postulate, when in fact I’m a professional student of music.”

—Nate Chinen, “Celebrating a Master of the Avant-Garde,” New York Times, 10/4/11

Sunday, 4/29/12

Let’s go to church.

“Until I Die,” Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., 2001

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lagniappe

reading table

On the Death of Friends in Childhood

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven,
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
Forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come, memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

—Donald Justice (Collected Poems, 2004)

***

“[We find] it impossible, when we have to analyze death, to imagine it in terms other than those of life.”

—Marcel Proust, The Fugitive (translated from French by Peter Collier)

*****

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide In Black (In the Red Records)

Wild Flag (Merge Records)

• That’s What They Want: The Best of Jerry McCain (Excello)

The Best of Slim Harpo (Hip-O)

• Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note)

• Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM)

• Anthony Braxton, 9 Compositions (Iridium)

• Chicago Tentet, American Landscapes 1 & 2 (Okka)

• Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings)

• Joe McPhee, Nation Time (Unheard Music Series)

• Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans, Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear)

• J. Berg’s Royal Rarities Vols. 2-3; A Cappella Archives, Vol. 3; Gospel Goldies, Vol. 2 (Rare Gospel)

• The Fisk Jubilee Quartet, There Breathes A Hope (Archeophone)

This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel On 45 RPM 1957-1982 (Tompkins Square)

• Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Pierre Fournier, (Archiv Production/DG)

• Mozart, Piano Sonatas Nos. 16 and 17, Peter Serkin, piano (Pro Arte)

• Arnold Schoenberg, Das Klavierwerk, Peter Serkin, piano (Arcana)

The Art of Joseph Szigeti (Biddulph Recordings)

• Anton Webern, Five Movements For String Quartet, Op. 5; Six Bagatelles For String Quartet, Op. 9; String Quartet, Op. 28; Quartetto Italiano (Philips)

• Anton Webern, Complete Works for String Quartet and String Trio, Artis Quartet Wien (Nimbus)

Music of Stefan Wolpe, Vol. 6, David Holzman, piano (Bridge)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Rag Aur Taal (various, Indian)

• WFMU-FM

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Fool’s Paradise (Rex; “Vintage rockabilly, R & B, blues, vocal groups, garage, instrumentals, hillbilly, soul and surf”)

• WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)

The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)

*****

radio

Happy Birthday, Duke!

All Ellington, all day: WKCR-FM.

Monday, 4/9/12

Shabazz Palaces, live (studio performance, KEXP-FM), 2011

These guys—their mix of drums, mbira, electronics—call to mind the AACM’s* tagline: ancient to the future.

*Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Fred Anderson, Leroy Jenkinset al.).

Saturday, 11/12/11

Labels are often worse than useless. This guy, for instance, is often tagged as “cerebral.” But here’s something you can’t—I can’t, anyway—listen to without smiling.

Anthony Braxton, Composition No. 58
Taylor Ho Bynum Chicago Big Band,* live, 2009, Chicago

*****

Here’s another take—Braxton’s original recording (The Complete Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton [Mosaic], rec. 1976).

More? Here.

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lagniappe

reading table

To obtain the value
of a sound, a movement,
measure from zero.

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A sound has no legs to stand on.

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The world is teeming: anything can
happen.

—John Cage, “2 Pages, 122 Words on Music and Dance” (excerpts)

*Taylor Ho Bynum & Josh Berman (cor), Jaimie Branch (tpt), Jeb Bishop & Nick Broste (tb), Nicole Mitchell (fl), Caroline Davis, Keefe Jackson & Dave Rempis (saxes), Jeff Parker (g), Jason Adasiewicz (vib), Nate McBride (b), Tim Daisy & Tomas Fujiwara (d)

Sunday, 9/4/11

The Dixie Hummingbirds (with Ira Tucker, lead vocals), “If You See My Savior” (T. Dorsey), live (TV broadcast), early 1960s

With a voice like this, who needs words?

(Listen, for instance, at :55 and 1:50.)

More? Here.

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lagniappe

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Various artists, Goodbye Babylon (Dust-to-Digital)

Sun Ra, Jazz in Silhouette (Evidence)

Anthony Braxton, For Alto (Delmark)

Fred Anderson, Timeless (Delmark)

• Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello/Steven Isserlis (Hyperion UK [import])

• Alfred Schnittke, Piano Quintet, String Trio, etc. (Naxos)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa) (available as a download from Amazon for 89¢)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Lester Young/Charlie Parker birthday marathon
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

• WFMU-FM
Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)


Sunday, 6/19/11

Gospel, soul, blues—sometimes they seem inseparable.

Willie Banks and The Messengers, live, Mississippi (Jackson), 1990

“Things I Can’t Change”

***

“God Is Still In Charge”

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lagniappe

listening room: what’s playing

Talib Kweli, Gutter Rainbows (Javotti Media/3d)

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Full Force (ECM)

Anthony Braxton Quartet, (GTM) 2006 (Important Records)

John Coltrane (with Rashied Ali), Interstellar Space (Impulse!)

The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions (1936-1940) (Mosaic)

• Various Artists, Ska Bonanza: The Studio One Ska Years (Heartbeat)

Stefan Wolpe: Compositions for Piano (1920-1952), David Holzman, piano (Bridge)

• Ann Southam: Simple Lines of Enquiry, Eve Egoyan, piano (Centrediscs)

Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa); John Tilbury, piano, Morton Feldman, All Piano (London HALL)

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Out to Lunch (Various, jazz)
Jazz Profiles (Various, jazz)
Jazz Alternatives (Various, jazz)
Afternoon New Music (Various, classical and hard-to-peg)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Rag Aur Taal (Various, Indian)
Morning Ragas (Various, Indian)
Amazing Grace (Various, gospel)
Live Constructions (Various, hard-to-peg)

WFMU-FM
Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some
(Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)
Daniel Blumin (sui generis)
Airborne Event (Dan Boodah, sui generis)
The Push Bin with Lou (Lou Z., sui generis)

*****

art beat

One of the great things about having friends is that they invite you to things you’d never get to, or even know about, otherwise—like, for instance, this wonderful exhibit of illustrated architecture books (dating from 1511), something I wouldn’t have gotten to but for my friend Bob Blythe.

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