Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: Anthony Braxton

  1. #1

    Anthony Braxton

    Any fans? Any thoughts? Anyone? Anyone?

  2. #2
    Boo! walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Oakland Gardens NY
    Posts
    4,406
    I was into Braxton starting in the mid 70's when my friend was turning me on to all these cats,AACM and otherwise.The first Braxton LPs i recall really liking right off was Town Hall 1972,with a trio of Dave Holland and Phillip Wilson and a quintet with Jeanne Lee,Holland,John Stubblefield and Barry Altschul.And ,of course, his Arista records of the 70's,especially the New York Fall 1974 and Five Pieces 1975 sessions,which made a big impression on me, all nicely put together on the Mosaic Braxton Arista box.

    Saw him a few times, solo,duo with Richard Teitelbaum(Moog),trio with Dave Holland and Steve McCall,quartet with Hugh Ragin(trumpet), Leonard Jones(bass) and John Betsch(drums).Maybe a couple other shows that i don't recall offhand.

    Kinda lost interest in Braxton over the last couple of decades.It seems Braxton's choice of ensembles/instrumentation didn't really appeal to me much.
    I bought very few of his cds over the last 20 years,the best,imo, are the trios on Hatology(1989) with Tony Oxley-percussion and Adelhard Roidinger(sp?) on bass and the Tzadik cd with William Parker and Milford Graves,and of course the Mosaic Arista box.I still occasionally spin the first duo cd with Derek Bailey(Emanem) and of course, Conference Of The Birds with Sam Rivers, Dave Holland and Barry Altschul,and, not forgetting the CCC(Creative Construction Company) live date cd(1970)

    Glad he's alive and well and still making music.
    Last edited by walt; 03-15-2014 at 09:44 AM.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  3. #3
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    2,473
    Quote Originally Posted by walt View Post
    not forgetting the CCC(Creative Construction Company) live date cd(1970/71)
    Whoa--is there really a CD of this?

  4. #4
    I love Braxton, have probably 30-40 of his discs covering 40 years of music, and actually put on a set of shows with him in duet with Roscoe Mitchell back in the mid-1970s. He's had a bit of a hard time; his music is often seen as not "black" enough for jazz, and too jazz-like to be seen as "new music." Whatever, the man is a polymath, a chess master, great writer and teacher, MacArthur genius award winner, and superb musician. And he writes weird titles for his songs, to boot! :-) I'm 60 and began listening to him in my teens.

    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  5. #5
    I am a fan more of his contemporary classical style than his jazz.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

  6. #6
    I like the Creative Music Orchestra album that was recorded in Cologne, Germany in 1978. Really dig the stuff Bob Ostertag does on synth on that one.

    Another good album with synths is Time Zones, one of his duo albums with Richard Teitelbaum. I've got three albums by the two of them together, and I think that's the best one.

    I've also got some of his quartet albums from the mid 80's, including a couple of the double CD's recorded in Birmingham and London in 84 or 85 (I forget which year, there's also a third album recorded in Coventry from the same tour, but I never got it because the back cover notes were a bit vague about it's contents, other than it included a "lecture", which I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to).

    There was also a live disc recorded in Eugene, Oregon, I think 89 which is pretty good, another one of the Creative Music Orchestra deals. I remember someone telling me the woodwind and brass players played like "junior college" level musicians on that disc, but I've personally always liked it as well.

  7. #7
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    The Past
    Posts
    1,853
    For Alto, baby!

    I had a cousin in Chi-town who sent me all those hip Delmark and Nessa LPs when they were hard to find even in the NYC shops. I caught him a number of times in the 70s, the first at the open rehearsals for Conference of The Birds at Sam's loft space.

    The group with Crispell, Hemmingway, and & Dresser was hip, but my relationship to Braxton's music became fairly attenuated after that. I did, however, receive Mosaic's box set as a gift a while back, which rekindled my interest. somewhat.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  8. #8
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Utopia
    Posts
    2,473
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    (I forget which year, there's also a third album recorded in Coventry from the same tour, but I never got it because the back cover notes were a bit vague about it's contents, other than it included a "lecture", which I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to).
    Yeah, that one consists of 82 minutes of music and an hour of spoken word. But you can get the whole thing as a download on Amazon for a paltry $3.96!

  9. #9
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Frownland
    Posts
    863
    Sadly (well not really sadly) his output is way to vast for me to explore with any kind of detail. That said...I love the two duet discs he made with Max Roach.

    I also have the Black Saint/Soul Note box of 6 or 7 CDs from various points in his career. I've only listen to Birth/Rebirth currently, but I'm looking forward to listening to the headier stuff soon. I also will buy For Alto at some point too.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,429
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    There was also a live disc recorded in Eugene, Oregon, I think 89 which is pretty good, another one of the Creative Music Orchestra deals. I remember someone telling me the woodwind and brass players played like "junior college" level musicians on that disc, but I've personally always liked it as well.
    I was in the audience for that. Also, I knew some of the players. They weren't so much inept - not at all - as that a certain number of them had never played or even heard anything like that before. More than a few of them were primarily straight-ahead bop guys. So they were struggling not only with the considerable technical difficulty of Braxton's material, but with trying to make musical sense out of what seemed like pages and pages of random notes jumping every-which-way, little of it in any discernible key, and occasionally turning into drawings and other impenetrable symbols. And the peculiar self-invented jargon in which Braxton attempted to explain himself didn't help.
    Last edited by Baribrotzer; 03-16-2014 at 12:54 AM.

  11. #11
    Boo! walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Oakland Gardens NY
    Posts
    4,406
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Whoa--is there really a CD of this?
    Yeah.I doubt if it's still in print.I was lucky enough to get the Japanese Sony cd of Vol.1 back in the early 90's.I wish Vol.2 were available.

    Here are YT clips of Vol.1.





    There are YT clips of Vol.2 also.
    Last edited by walt; 03-17-2014 at 07:32 AM.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  12. #12
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nothern Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,858
    Braxton is indeed a unique animal, and somewhat like Sun Ra, has a vast catalog that can be overwhelmingly eclectic. How do you attempt to digest something like 250 recordings, or even decide where to begin?

    My faves are:

    Five Pieces (1975)
    Dortmund (Quartet) (1976)
    The Montreux/Berlin Concerts (1977)
    Six Compositions for Quartet (1984)
    Composition No. 165 (for 18 Instruments) (1992)

    I don't care for the GTM stuff and I can't for the life of me think of where to begin from the last 20 years of his work.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  13. #13
    First heard him on Five Pieces 1975 and it's still a personal favorite. Around that time Phil Woods was saying in a Downbeat interview that Braxton couldn't swing or play, (his opinion wasn't unique). I think Braxton could do pretty much whatever he wanted to. As was mentioned before he's put out a ton of records and quite a few releases sound fairly conventional. The line up below frequently delivered a potent jazz rock fix w/ Braxton sometimes stepping back for awhile and coming in w/ really fine reedwork. A bunch of stuff w/ Norton and O'neil on Barking Hoop and Leo smokes pretty good.


  14. #14
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Nothern Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,858
    Excellent. Thanks for sharing.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  15. #15
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    The Past
    Posts
    1,853
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    So they were struggling not only with Braxton's very difficult charts, but with trying to make musical sense out of what seemed like pages and pages of random notes jumping every-which-way, little of it in any discernible key, and occasionally turning into drawings and other impenetrable symbols. And the peculiar self-invented jargon in which Braxton attempted to explain himself didn't help.
    Likewise, I made a large ensemble gig with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre many moons ago. His charts looked as though they'd been transcribed by a three-year old. A lot of good players had trouble with the music at rehearsal, and matters were made worse by the fact that McIntyre was a class-A prick. Consequences? Four or five guys skipped the gig. Lesson? If you're going to treat your hired guns like shit, do it after the gig, like real pros!
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Yeah, that one consists of 82 minutes of music and an hour of spoken word. But you can get the whole thing as a download on Amazon for a paltry $3.96!
    Ah, but does it come with the liner notes? I found the liner notes in the Birmingham and London sets (as well as the Cologne 78 set) to be very helpful in understanding exactly what the frell was going on, musically speaking.

  17. #17
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    The Past
    Posts
    1,853
    Quote Originally Posted by Bake 1 View Post
    Phil Woods was saying in a Downbeat interview that Braxton couldn't swing or play, (his opinion wasn't unique).
    It sure wasn't. A friend of mine attended a birthday party for Lee Konitz years ago. In attendance were the by-then former "young lions" of Memphis, George Coleman, Frank Strozier (a monster, btw!), Louis Hayes, Danny Moore, and some others. At some point somebody put on one of Braxton's In The Tradition LPs. According to my man, the viciousness of the opprobium heaped upon Braxton was red tooth and claw in extremis.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  18. #18
    Boo! walt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Oakland Gardens NY
    Posts
    4,406
    "Anthony Braxton,who works,as did many of his great predecessors, to extend his tradition and not merely to celebrate it,has been at various times a favorite target of the propagandists,attacking him for:betraying his race(as was Louis Armstrong);being an intellectual (as was Charlie Parker);and diluting the musical purity of his tradition(as was John Coltrane).In short, he stands accused of just about all those things which have previously served to strengthen jazz.Braxton,recognised by the musicians who work with him as an outstanding musical figure, is unlikely to be deflected by this sort of stuff but if jazz no longer values the sort of qualities he represents then it has a pretty arid future.

    Fortunately,jazz has always had its share of unruly spirits, players unconstrained by either prevailing fashion or any single imposed aesthetic......."-Derek Bailey,from his book "Improvisation Its Nature And Practice In Music".

    Word.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  19. #19
    I was enthralled by his Arista LP's in the 70's and met a guy who went to a school with Braxton as teacher. The students would perform on the weekends. The man I talked to was a drummer but was urged to play saxophone at one of these gigs and was prodded to solo for longer than was comfortable. Still, he valued the experience and spoke well of Braxton as a leader and teacher.

  20. #20
    When we did the shows with him and Roscoe Mitchell, the two of them spent an hour in the rehearsal room writing up something like 20 pages of musical notation. And each show, they threw the sheets into the air, so that they were mixed up each time they played...
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,429
    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    Likewise, I made a large ensemble gig with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre many moons ago. His charts looked as though they'd been transcribed by a three-year old. A lot of good players had trouble with the music at rehearsal, and matters were made worse by the fact that McIntyre was a class-A prick. Consequences? Four or five guys skipped the gig. Lesson? If you're going to treat your hired guns like shit, do it after the gig, like real pros!
    Interesting story.

    I revised my original post a little: I had tried to say that many players in the band struggled with making aesthetic sense out of the music as well as with actually playing it, and don't know if that's what came across. Incidentally, Braxton was not any kind of jerk at all, but he did and does often appear to have his brain somewhere on Pluto. And the amount of pot he smoked didn't help.

  22. #22
    Member wideopenears's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    446
    I love For Alto, and Five Pieces. Have a couple other live things....but nothing recent.

  23. #23
    Surprised that Circle hasn't been mentioned. Paris Concerts is one hell of a double album.

    Seen Braxton many times. Solo and otherwise. A particularly good gig I recall was one of those with Rova Saxophone Quartet. Must have been the late 80s.

    The guy is a musical mastermind, IMO. But I'm not drawn to his music very often at this stage of my musical journey.

  24. #24
    I have the duo album he recorded at the Victoriaville Fest in 2005 with Fred Frith. Nice stuff here. Not enough that you get to hear Anthony in a purely improvisational setting.

  25. #25

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •